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Why do I Feel Like I Have a Blocked Ear?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Blocked ear symptoms can occur for a number of reasons, including wax accumulation in the ear canal or fluid build up due to ear infection. Foreign objects can cause blocked ear symptoms if they become lodged inside the ear. Allergies, sinus infections, and even problems with the temporomandibular joint can cause feelings of having a blocked ear. Injuries to the ear, especially from sudden atmospheric pressure changes, can also cause ear blockage symptoms. In some cases,eustachian tube dysfunction may be responsible for feelings of blockage in the ear.

The most widely experienced symptom of ear blockage may well be a reduction in hearing. Depending upon the cause of ear blockage, pain, discharge, dizziness and balance disruptions can occur. In some cases, blocked ears may bleed.

Most people experience blocked ear symptoms because some underlying cause — such as infection, wax build up, injury, or a foreign object — is limiting the body's ability to regulate pressure in the middle ear, the part located beyond the ear drum and ear canal. Allergies, sinus infections, and colds can cause fluid accumulation in the eustachian tube, the tube that runs between the middle ear and the back of the throat. When this tube isn't functioning properly, the body can't regulate middle ear pressure adequately, and feelings of ear blockage can occur. Deformities of the eustachian tubes, or injuries to the eustachian tubes, can lead to similar symptoms.

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Infections, foreign objects, and ear wax plugs can cause sensations of ear blockage. Foreign objects or wax plugs can block the ear canal, causing abnormalities in middle ear pressure. Reduced hearing can occur because the foreign object or wax plug may stop sounds from reaching the middle and inner ear. Infections of the ear can cause fluid to accumulate in the ear canal or middle ear. This can lead to imbalances in pressure inside the ear and can block sound waves from penetrating the middle and inner ear.

If blocked ear symptoms last for more than 24 hours, or are accompanied by pain, fever, bleeding, or other symptoms, medical treatment is generally advised. Patients are usually cautioned against trying to remove wax plugs or foreign objects from the ear canal without the help of a physician. Untreated ear infections and injuries can cause serious and permanent damage to hearing.

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Discuss this Article

Spotiche5
Post 2

@heavanet- Your point is a good one. There is no reason to fear seeking medical attention for such ear issues. However, the risk of damaging your hearing is something to fear.

Heavanet
Post 1

This article makes a good point about seeing a doctor to diagnose and treat the cause of the sensation of blocked ears. There are so many causes, so only a trained medical doctor can tell a patient what the problem is and the best way to deal with it.

The best way to find a good ear doctor is to talk to your family doctor. He or she may be able to help you with your problem, but if not, will be able to refer you to an audiologist or a specialist who can.

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