A man whose ears are always clogged

With review and feedback from CEENTA ENT doctor Roy Lewis, MD (Mooresville)

Your ears never seem to unblock. Sometimes they hurt. Sometimes the pressure just feels weird. But no matter what you do, you can’t seem to clear them out. It’s never any fun, but fear not, for a solution may be at hand.

Your eustachian tubes and your clogged ears

First, let’s talk about why your ears may be blocked all the time. One likely perpetrator is a condition called Eustachian tube dysfunction, or ETD. ETD is when the normal function of the Eustachian tube – helping maintain pressure in the ear by periodically opening and closing – is impaired, leading to pressure, pain, impaired hearing, persistent ear infections, tinnitus, or other symptoms. About one percent of adults have ETD.

Roy Lewis, MD

While some cases are treated with medication and ear tube surgery, chronic sufferers may want to consider Eustachain tube dilation. In this procedure a balloon is inserted into the Eustachian tube, inflated and removed, allowing for proper flow of mucus and air.

Eustachian tube balloon dilation is a simple procedure that can be performed under local anesthesia in properly selected patients, CEENTA ENT doctor Roy Lewis, MD, said.

Allergies and their effect on your ears

Do you have allergies? They might be another cause of your discomfort. Just like allergies can cause swelling of your nasal cavity, making it hard to breathe, allergies can also cause swelling of the Eustachian tube, making it hard for it to open and equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the outside world, Dr. Lewis said.

Allergies also lead to ciliary dysmotility. This leads to thicker mucus, which causes tissue to swell. This makes the Eustachian tube opening swell, making it harder for it to open.

If you have allergies, make an appointment with an ENT physician or allergy specialist. They can determine what you’re allergic to and what treatment you may need. The first step in treating allergies is usually using a topical nasal steroid spray such as Flonase or Nasacort. Both are sold over the counter.

Excessive ear wax

All of us have earwax, and it serves an important purpose, but some of us have to deal with excessive amounts. If you tried cleaning it out on your own – which many doctors discourage, especially if you used a Q-tip – it may be impacted and causing blockage. A doctor can clean your ear and help remove any impacted earwax.

Is there something in my ear?

Sometimes, especially with children, foreign objects can get stuck in a person’s ear. If that happens, don’t try to remove it on your own, as the object can get stuck deeper or even cause damage. Instead, see your doctor and have them take care of it.

Ear care at CEENTA

Why spend your days dealing with chronically clogged ears? Come to CEENTA for the care you need.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. You can now schedule an appointment online with Dr. Lewis or any of our more than 40 ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. You can also schedule through myCEENTAchart or by calling 704-295-3000.


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