What is Ear Congestion & How Can It Be Treated?

Ear congestion can range from annoying to debilitating. Ear congestion is a condition that occurs when the Eustachian tube or tubes become obstructed or stop functioning properly. The Eustachian tube is the canal that connects that nose to the middle ear, and serves the purpose of equalizing the pressure in your middle ear.

Congested ears can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition to sufferers as it causes a feeling of fullness in the ears, difficulty hearing and sometimes pain. Kenwood Hearing Center created this guide to outline several effective methods to get rid of congestion in the ears and alleviate the symptoms.

6 Ways to Alleviate Ear Congestion:

  • Nasal Decongestants – An effective way to reduce ear congestion is with the use of a nasal decongestant. Nasal decongestants work by reducing inflammation inside the ear and setting the scene for more drainage of fluid in the ear canal. Over-the-counter nasal sprays or drops that contain decongestants such as oxymetazoline or phenylephrine are the most commonly used. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging closely and not to overuse these medications. Nasal decongestants can cause rebound congestion if used for more than a few days.
  • Warm Compress – A warm compress is another do-it-yourself way to alleviate congested ears. By applying a warm compress to the affected ear, you can help to reduce inflammation and promote drainage of the fluid in the ear canal. A warm compress can be made using a warm towel or a heating pad on its lowest setting.
  • Saline Solution – The use of saline solution is another easy and safe way to help relieve congested ears. Saline solution can be purchased at your local pharmacy. Follow the instructions on the package. Typically, saline solutions are used by tilting the head to one side and using a dropper to put a few drops of the solution in your ear. The next step is to tilt the head to the other side after a few minutes to allow the solution to drain out.
  • Chewing Gum – Chewing gum is another way to alleviate mildly congested ears. The act of chewing can help to equalize the pressure in the ear canal. When you chew gum, you create a swallowing motion that can help to open up the Eustachian tube and promote drainage of the fluid in the ear.
  • Stay Hydrated – Drinking plenty of fluids can also help to alleviate congested ears. Dehydration can cause the mucus in the ear canal to thicken and become more difficult to drain, while drinking water and other clear fluids can help to thin the mucus and make it easier to clear.
  • Contact Your Doctor – If your ear congestion is not improving or becomes overly painful, it might be time to make a doctor’s appointment. It is a good idea to act quickly if you have a concern about your ear congestion, so things don’t worsen.

Ear congestion can be an annoying and uncomfortable condition, but there are many easy and effective ways to alleviate the symptoms. Nasal decongestants, warm compresses, saline solution, chewing gum, and staying hydrated are all possible ways to relieve the congestion, but if your symptoms persist or are extremely painful, be sure to get in to see your doctor for more assistance.

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