Problem of the week – Ear Pressure

Ear pressure and popping was the most common problem I saw this week.  There are many causes of ear symptoms and I will list the most common three.

  1. Eustachian tube dysfunction – The eustachian tube leads from behind the nose to the ear and equalizes pressure in the ear.  When this tube is not functioning properly, people will often complain of pressure and hearing loss.  If you think of the problems you often have in flying or driving up and down hills these are the symptoms of eustachian tube dysfuntion.  One of the most common causes is related to nasal congestion and allergies are definitely kicking in this time of the year.  Simple treatment include over the counter antihistamines and steroid nose sprays such as flonase.
  2. Otitis media – or fluid behind the eardrum   This can be caused by an upper respiratory infection or allergies as well.  Fluid will typically resolve on it’s own over time, but if someone has nasal symptoms such as allergy problems then the medications noted above may help.
  3. Temporal mandibular jaw joint problems – Problems with the jaw joint from clenching or grinding can cause ear pain, tinnitus(ringing in the ear) and fullness.  The nerves to the jaw joint go to the ear as well so symptoms will be noted in the ear.  Warm compresses and antiinflammatories can help.  Correcting bite problems is important as well.

All these problems may require a careful ear nose and throat exam.  As always we are always available for questions and an appointment when needed.  We welcome your calls.

Dr B

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