General Question

skaberry22's avatar

How to get rid of ear congestion?

Asked by skaberry22 (8 points ) April 27th, 2010

I had what seemed to be the stomach flu almost a week ago and a few days after that I still had headaches off and on and my left ear just seemed to pop. It didn’t really ever seem to unpop, I can’t notice it all the time but it starts to hurt when I blow my nose, and it’s like I can hear it being clogged and not able to pop. I also have seasonal allergies right now. Is there anyway to get this to stop? ?

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7 Answers

Taciturnu's avatar

It’s probably due to nasal congestion. Try taking a nasal decongestant (provided you are okay to do so) and see if it gets any better.

Buttonstc's avatar

If the decongestant only offers temporary relief, there is a possibility of a deep seated infection from inadequate drainage.

You need to have a doc check it out with an otoscope to determine that and if so will result in a round of antibiotics.

I just got through with the same problem. Don’t let it linger too long. It will just get worse. Don’t hesitate to get it checked out properly.

MissAnthrope's avatar

It may be an ear infection. A while back, I had one and my right ear was plugged for about a month. The first round of antibiotics didn’t touch it or the bronchitis I had, and the doctor was stumped. She suggested a decongestant to try to help drain it, but honestly, it didn’t do much. I needed a second round of different, stronger antibiotics and gradually my hearing came back.

Taciturnu's avatar

Adding because I can’t edit:—I should have more clearly specified. Both @Buttonstc and @MissAnthrope are correct. Because you mentioned having the flu just a week ago, currently experiencing allergic symptoms and have been blowing your nose, it leads me to believe it is your nasal congestion causing the problem.

However, if the decongestants do not work, if it persists beyond a couple days, or if the quality changes, you need to see a doctor.

hearkat's avatar

Hello; I am an Audiologist.

Since you don’t mention any significant pain or fever, it may just be negative air pressure behind the eardrum, rather than fluid or infection. You mention a “stomach flu” as opposed to a respiratory flu, so that also suggests to me that this is more allergy related than anything.

Taking antihistamines for your allergies is the best place to start. Allergy medicines with a “D” after them have decongestants in their formula, as well – be careful not to mix medications. If in doubt, ask the pharmacist when selecting over-the-counter medications – especially if you are on any type of prescription medications for any reason. (The same is true for herbal/dietary supplements, as they can also interact with medications).

Drinking hot teas and broths and inhaling steam helps open the upper respiratory pathways, and saline rinses for the sinuses are also beneficial to many with allergies and related sinus/ear issues. Blow your nose gently, as using too much pressure can force air and mucus up into the middle ear space, which can lead to infection, dizziness or even a ruptured eardrum.

As others have noted, if it persists, gets worse – or if your symptoms include pain, fever, dizziness or significant hearing changes – go see a physician.

I hope you feel better soon!

skaberry22's avatar

Thanks a lot everyone. Nothing was working and I was getting so sick of the feeling I went to the doctor. Good thing I did! It is an ear infection

hearkat's avatar

@skaberry22: You will be feeling better soon, but make sure to take all the antibiotics to ensure that the infection is killed completely. Otherwise, if a few bacteria are allowed to remain, they can brew a rebound infection that can be resistant to antibiotics.
Also realize that it can take as long as 6–8 weeks to be back to 100% normal – especially during allergy season.

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