Ear pressure is actually a feeling of fullness or stuffiness in the ear and occurs when the eustachian tube of the ear becomes blocked or stops working properly. The Eustachian tube is a thin tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose and helps balance air pressure on both sides of the eardrum. It also helps to clear secretions from the ear. It opens when a person chews, swallows or yawns, which helps prevent air pressure from building up in the ear. The condition can be alleviated in several ways – by chewing, using ear drops, and treating any underlying condition, such as sinus congestion.
The treatment for pressure in the ear is determined based on the causative agent
Doctors state that pressure in the ear can be alleviated/treated based on the causative agent, the conditions that cause the pressure, and the most common are:
The sinuses are a network of cavities inside the skull. Their primary function is the production of mucus, which helps moisten the nasal passages and trap pathogens. Sinus congestion is the medical term for a buildup of mucus in the sinuses. Some potential symptoms are:
ear pressure or ear pain
postnasal drip, where mucus runs down the back of the throat
green or yellow nasal mucus
weakened sense of smell
pain, swelling or tenderness around the cheeks, eyes or forehead
Sinus congestion occurs as a result of:
viral infections, such as the common cold or flu
Treatments for sinus congestion are:
saline solution for rinsing the nose
decongestant nasal sprays
topical nasal corticosteroids
applying a warm compress to the nose and forehead
taking antihistamines for allergies
antibiotics for sinus infections
surgery for chronic sinus congestion.
Certain ear infections can also cause pressure in the ear.
Middle ear infection
Middle ear infection, or otitis media, is an infection behind the eardrum. The condition causes fluid to build up behind the eardrum, which can lead to pressure in the ear. Although anyone can get a middle ear infection, it is more common in newborns. Some potential symptoms of a middle ear infection include:
fluid pouring from the ear
feeling of fullness in the ear
Treatment of middle ear infection it can be:
taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
trying medicated ear drops
antibiotics should be prescribed by a doctor if the symptoms do not go away on their own.
A fungal ear infection occurs when the fungus in the ear overgrows and can cause the following symptoms:
skin discoloration or peeling of the skin of the outer ear
discharge from the ear.
Treatment, that is potential treatment options for fungal ear infections they can be:
cleaning the ear using swabs, suction tubes or syringes
antifungal ear drops, to control infection
medicated ear drops to control inflammation.
Swimmer’s ear or otitis externa is an infection of the ear canal that usually occurs after water becomes trapped in the ear. Excess moisture can lead to excessive growth of bacteria and fungi. Symptoms of swimmer’s ear can include:
itching inside the ear
redness or swelling of the skin around the ear
pain in the inner ear that gets worse if the ear is pulled
a feeling of stuffiness in the ear
drainage from the ear
swollen lymph nodes around the ear or upper neck
intense pain in the neck, face or side of the head
Some Swimmer’s ear treatment options are:
ear canal cleaning
using medicated ear drops
taking antibiotics for bacterial infections.
Change in altitude
Rapid changes in altitude and pressure can block the Eustachian tube. As a result, the tube will not be able to equalize the pressure inside the middle ear with the pressure outside the body. The difference in pressure causes a vacuum that stretches the eardrum and this can lead to the following symptoms:
accumulation of fluid in the ear
temporary hearing loss
Potential treatment options for pressure in the ear caused by changes in altitude are:
pinching the nose and blowing gently, then swallowing
sucking hard candy
use of decongestants.
Cerumen or ear wax helps to clean, protect and lubricate the ear canal. However, earwax can occasionally build up too much and cause a blockage in the eardrum, which can result in:
pain in the ear
I feel a fullness in my ear
partial hearing loss that worsens over time
ringing in the ears or tinnitus
discharge from the ear
Doctors stress that earwax build-up often occurs because people use sticks or other items to clean the grease, but that process actually pushes the wax deeper into the ear canal.
Treatments for earwax build-up they can be:
putting a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil or glycerin in the ear
using ear drops without a prescription
using a syringe to wash out the ear
manual removal of cerumen by a doctor.
Foreign object in ear
Occasionally, objects can get stuck in the ear canal. Children, for example, may insert objects into their ears out of curiosity or as a means of exploration. Foreign objects stuck in the ear can cause the following symptoms:
ear skin moisture
Treatment for this problem involves professional removal. The doctor may remove the objects in one of the following ways:
using a magnet, if the object is metallic
rinsing the ear with water
using a mini vacuum cleaner.
Meniere’s disease is characterized by fluid accumulation in the inner ear. The condition usually affects only one ear, but sometimes it can affect both. The exact cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown, however, allergies and autoimmune conditions can increase the risk of developing the disease. Some potential symptoms of Meniere’s disease are:
a feeling of fullness in the affected ear or ears.
In terms of treatment, there is currently no cure for Ménière’s disease. Instead, treatments focus on controlling vertigo and include:
following a low-salt diet
taking anti-vertigo medication to stop acute attacks
receiving drug injections into the eardrum
A cholesteatoma is a growth or cyst that becomes trapped behind the eardrum or bone behind the ear. Cholesteatomas are caused by the accumulation of earwax and skin debris and most often develop due to poor ventilation in the middle ear. A cholesteatoma can cause the following symptoms:
feeling of fullness in the ear
drainage from the ear with an unpleasant smell
recurrent ear infections
facial muscle weakness on the side of the affected ear.
Treatment of cholesteatoma will generally involve surgical removal of the growth or cyst.
An acoustic neuroma is a benign, slow-growing tumor that develops in the inner ear. These tumors develop on nerves that are important for the functioning of the senses of hearing and balance. Symptoms of an acoustic neuroma may include:
unilateral hearing loss
loss of balance
facial weakness or paralysis
A doctor treats an acoustic neuroma using surgery or radiation therapy.
Temporomandibular joint damage/disorder
The temporomandibular joint is the “hinge” that connects the skull to the lower jaw. If this joint suffers any damage, it can cause significant pain that occurs in:
muscles of the lower jaw
Some potential ones pain treatment options due to jaw joint disorders they can be:
not using chewing gum
the teeth must not be clenched
wearing a mouthguard at night
applying a warm compress to the jaw to relax the muscles
taking muscle relaxants
practicing stress reduction techniques
applying ice to the jaw to reduce inflammation
taking anti-inflammatory drugs.