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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Stopped up ear

10/25/2006

Question:

my ear has been stoped up for over a month and i have used ear drops and a ear bulb. what can it be

Answer:

There are a multitude of potential things that could be causing your symptoms. A "plugged up ear" could be due to simple things like wax in the ear canal. And fortunately, drops and/or an ear bulb might be able to take care of that problem in some instances. However, ear canal infections or foreign bodies can also cause those kind of symptoms.
 
Then moving onto the middle ear, eardrum (tympanic membrane) defects such as holes or swelling can also create a sensation of plugging. Fluid in the middle ear or an infection in the middle ear can also cause those kinds of sensations. Eustachian tube problems are also notorious for causing a sensation of plugging in the ear.
 
Continuing onto the inner ear, certain conditions such as Meniere's disease can produce symptoms of ear fullness or pressure or plugging.
 
All of these things are mentioned so that its evident that you should see your physician for an exam. If simple measures don't relieve your symptom, all of these things can be evaluated by your general medical doctor or family practitioner. And in some cases, referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist might be indicated.
For just about any ear complaint, a baseline hearing test (audiogram) ought to be obtained as well so that subtle problems can be detected.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati