What Causes Allergy Symptoms
The immune systems job is to protect your body from diseases, viruses and infections. But for people with allergies, the immune system mistakes harmless substances, known as allergens, like pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold and certain foods as dangerous intruders and attacks.
To fight the intruder, the immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E , which causes your cells to release histamine. Histamine increases mucus production and causes inflammation. In short, its this chemical thats responsible for your allergy symptoms.
Why Ear Pressure Happens When Youre Sick
Its common for your ears to feel stuffy when you have an illness or infection that impacts the general vicinity of your head, Bradford A. Woodworth, M.D., a professor in the department of otolaryngology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, tells SELF. Because our ears, nose, and throat are all closely connected, a problem in one area often leads to another, Dr. Woodworth says.
Much of the function of this ear-nose-throat network hinges on tiny canals called the Eustachian tubes. Each ear has one of these narrow passageways to connect the middle ear to the back of the nasal passages and upper throat, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. These tubes open and close regularly to adjust the air pressure in your middle ear, remove natural fluids from your middle ear, and circulate new air inside your ear, according to the Mayo Clinic.
When youre battling something like an upper respiratory infection or allergy, your Eustachian tube openings can become partially blocked due to tissue inflammation and mucus secretions, Dr. Woodworth says, and this inflammation can potentially interfere with the normal functioning of these tubes, possibly leading to a pressure imbalance. This may cause a sensation of stuffiness.
What Causes Inner Ear Pressure
There are several types of pressure in the ear: pressure caused by a difference in air pressure and pressure caused by fluid buildup inside the ear. Air pressure differences are usually caused by a change of altitude. An imbalance of fluid in the inner ear can result from a sinus infection, ear infection, cold or allergies.
A third cause of ear stuffiness may occur and this is from a physical obstruction inside the ear. This obstruction can happen due to earwax buildup blocking the ear canal or a foreign object inside the ear.
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Treating Ear Pain Caused By Allergies
The best way to treat ear pain caused by allergies is to address the allergies themselves. Management options include:
- Practicing avoidance of allergens. Strategies include staying indoors when pollen counts are high, running the air conditioner, installing a HEPA filter, bathing pets regularly and avoiding triggering foods.
- Taking allergy medications. Daily over-the-counter antihistamines are highly effective for managing most peoples allergies.
- Talking to your doctor about immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a long-term allergy solution that works by exposing your body to small amounts of allergens to help build up a tolerance.
For more information about allergy management options or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, call ENT of Georgia today.
Why Does Ear Pressure Build Up
The pressure in your ear can build up when the eustachian tube is blocked or stops functioning as it should. Several conditions can cause ear pressure buildup and result in additional symptoms.
If left untreated, your ear pressure can continue to build up and cause further damage.
At-Home Treatments for Ear Pressure
Ear pressure can have many causes and these causes often determine what treatment should be used. If the cause of your ear pressure is easy to identify, you may be able to treat it at home.
Some at-home treatment options include:
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What Can Cause Pressure In Your Ears
This may seem counter-intuitive but a change in air pressure can cause pressure in your ears. This is known as ear barotrauma. The way that a barometer is meant to measure changes in atmospheric pressure, is the way the ear senses differences in the outside environment. Though its physical structure is small, the equipment of the inner ear is a powerful mechanism which helps keep our balance and is intricately connected to our sense of smell, touch, and the ability to feel hot or cold.
So barotrauma is the discomfort experienced when the ear, as a whole, senses a pressure change. Think about the last time you went on an airplane as it takes off and lands, you ascend and descend, which changes the pressure in the atmosphere. As you are transitioning from the ground to the air, your inner ear tube, known as the Eustachian tube, may become blocked or sensitive to the change in outer air pressure.
This also happens when diving. Once again, the body maintains equilibrium when on land. But, underwater, there is more pressure being exerted, which means pressure on the inner ear, as well. Infants and young children experience this change most acutely and frequently, but it is rarely a cause for concern.
Another reason why you may be feeling uncomfortable ear pressure is because youre going through a cold or flu and youre all congested. The system of tubes and canals that make up the ears are intricately connected to your throat and nose .
What Causes A Cholesteatoma
Besides repeated infections, a cholesteatoma may also be caused by a poorly functioning eustachian tube, which is the tube that leads from the back of the nose to the middle of the ear.
The eustachian tube allows air to flow through the ear and equalize ear pressure. It may not work properly due to any of the following:
- chronic ear infections
If your eustachian tube isnt working correctly, a partial vacuum might occur in your middle ear. This may cause a section of your eardrum to be pulled into the middle ear, creating a cyst that can turn into a cholesteatoma. The growth then becomes larger as it fills with old skin cells, fluids, and other waste materials.
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What Exactly Is Inner Ear Pressure
Inner ear pressure happens when the pressure inside the ear behind the eardrum is different from the pressure outside the ear. Inner or middle ear pressure is regulated by eustachian tubes, small tubes connecting the middle ear to the meeting of the nasal cavity and the throat. This pathway is how the inner ear remains connected to the outside environment.
The eustachian tubes can become narrowed or blocked, preventing proper pressure equalization and therefore causing inner ear pressure. The sensation of ear pressure creates the feeling of the ears being clogged or plugged up. It can consist of pressure only, but it can also involve pain and muffled hearing.
Typical Symptoms Of Ear Allergies:
Fluid can build up in your ear canals and also at the back of your eardrums as a result of sinus pressure and congestion caused by an allergic reaction. These unusual pressures can cause severe ear pain allergies and an uncomfortable sensation of fullness. Itching may also occur in the outer regions of your ears causing red hot ears allergic reaction.
Hearing loss could be a potential one of the outcomes due to ear allergies. Hearing loss occurs when your ears and sinus passages carrying the fluid pressure interferes with the natural travel of sound waves. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears can be caused by the same factors.
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An Ent Youll Be Glatz To See
Ear congestion is not uncommon and can often be efficiently resolved at home with the help of home remedies or over-the-counter treatments.
Should your ear congestion last more than two weeks or be followed by a fever, fluid drainage, loss of hearing, balance issues, or severe ear pain, come pay a visit to your local McAllen ENT that we can guarantee youll be Glatz to seeand hear once your problem is resolved.
Caring For Pressure Equalization Tubes
It is important to keep water out of your ears when you have pressure equalization tubes. This means:
- Using earplugs or a cotton ball smothered in petroleum jelly while bathing
- Wearing custom earplugs fit to your ear when going swimming
Water that gets into the ear canal can carry bacteria through the tube into the middle ear space and cause an ear infection. This is called a purulent drainage from the ear. We treat this type of ear infection with antibiotic eardrops.
The other risk of either a myringotomy or a pressure equalization tube is that the incision may not heal. This may eventually require surgery to patch the hole.
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How To Relieve Ear Pressure
Most of us have experienced ear pressure, or the sensation of fullness within the ear, especially if youve flown on an airplane, driven through the mountains or gone scuba diving. But do you know what causes this feeling?
Its your Eustachian tubes or more specifically, a blockage of the Eustachian tubes. These tubes are thin passageways that connect the middle ear to the back of the nose/throat. Theyre responsible for helping drain fluids from the middle ear and equalizing pressure. Certain conditions can disrupt the function of the Eustachian tubes, resulting in pressure, pain and even hearing loss.
Below are some of the common causes of ear pressure and how to find relief.
Moisture Impacts Hearing Aids
Spring also brings challenges for those with hearing aids, as the rise in allergens and wet weather means paying closer attention to maintenance and upkeep of hearing devices. For example, increased allergens can clog microphone ports in hearing aids, so be sure to clean hearing aids regularly and replace covers of mic ports when necessary.
Increased allergens can clog microphone ports in hearing aids, so be sure to clean hearing aids regularly.
Along with allergens, spring is accompanied by heat, humidity, rain and extreme temperature changes. Moisture is the enemy of hearing aids, as it can build up in the tubing, damage the microphone and receiver and cause static. In addition, warm weather means more ear wax build-up, which can clog the sound openings.
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How To Cope With Stuffy Ears
Clogged ears can have several causes this time of year it’s likely allergy-related. Over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants might help relieve the problem of excess fluid if it is caused by allergies. Some other remedies that can reduce fluid build-up include exercising, eating a low-sodium diet, or eating fruits and vegetables that act as diureticsgrapes, watermelon, celery, bell peppers and asparagus all offer health benefits that include reducing fluid retention.
Since continuous pressure in the middle ear could result in permanent hearing loss, if you are experiencing any changes in hearing be sure to see a hearing healthcare professional or otolaryngologist to make sure the problem isnt something more serious.
The excess fluid build-up as a result of allergies, barometric pressure changes or inner ear conditions can not only cause a feeling of fullness or pressure, but can also cause conductive hearing loss as a result of sound being prevented from traveling to the cochlea. Another risk of excessive fluid build-up when the Eustachian tubes arent functioning properly is ear infections the increased fluid provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
Inflammation Of The Eustachian Tubes
The Eustachian tubes are the narrow passageways that connect the middle ears to the throat. They allow fluid to drain and equalize pressure between the ears and your environment.
When allergies cause inflammation, it can affect the Eustachian tubes. This causes a feeling of pressure, fullness or pain in the ears and can cause fluid to become trapped.
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Causes Of Ear Congestion
- Common Cold. A viral infection of the nose is the most common cause. The nasal congestion also blocks the ear tube . The ear tube normally keeps air in the middle ear.
- Ear Infection. Middle ear pus can also cause muffled hearing on that side. This commonly happens with an ear infection.
- Middle Ear Fluid. Fluid may remain in the middle ear after the infection is cleared up. It can last for months. The main symptoms are popping and crackling noises in the ear.
- Blowing the Nose. Blowing too hard can force secretions into the ear tube.
- Allergic Rhinitis. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollens. It causes nasal congestion, clear drainage and sneezing. It also can block the ear tube and back up secretions in the ear.
- Airplane Ear. If the ear tube is blocked, sudden increases in air pressure can cause the eardrum to stretch. The main symptom is ear pain. Sometimes, it just causes congestion. It usually starts when coming down for a landing. It can also occur during mountain driving.
Feeling The Consequences Of Pressure In The Ears
The side effects of feeling pressure in your ears can trigger a whole host of other accompanying sensations that are rather unpleasant.
Take heart, though: most of these will pass right away, as the pressure clears.
In cases of ear barotrauma, the discomfort you are feeling is primarily due to the direct effect on the Eustachian tube. This tube is responsible for sensing and maintaining pressure equilibrium. The pressure itself is caused by a difference between atmospheric pressure on the outside versus the inside. What our brains register as discomfort or a situation out of the balance, our inner ear is working to restore.
Altitude changes that you can control are activities such as diving or climbing and hiking. Go slowly, either while ascending or descending and give your ears time to adjust. Ear barotrauma may also increase the chance of having a minor nosebleed.
If youre on a plane, there may not be much you can do. Try yawning or even chewing gum as these tricks may relieve the pressure immediately and cause the ears to pop.
Ear pressure brought on by clogged sinuses can bring a whole host of other sensations including: dizziness, pain, muffled hearing and, sometimes, even vertigo due to inner ear imbalance. And this is especially true of inner ear tube inflammations or ear infections.
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What Causes Allergies
When the body comes into contact with allergens, which are normally harmless substances that the immune system deems a threat, it produces the antibody Immunoglobulin E . IgE tells the cells to release the chemical histamine, which causes inflammation and increased mucus production affecting the eyes, nose, throat and sinuses. Because the nose, throat and sinuses connect to the ears, they can also be affected.
Specifically, allergies can contribute to ear pain when:
- Inflammation blocks the Eustachian tubes.
- Fluid builds up in the middle ear.
- Bacteria grows in this fluid.
When To See A Doctor
Usually, ear problems related to a sinus issue arenât severe and donât last long. Most of the time, they go away on their own. See your doctor if:
- You have a fever.
- You have head, face, or ear pain, or swelling that doesnât get better with non-prescription medication.
- Your symptoms last for more than a week or keep coming back.
American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery: âSinusitis â âDizziness and Motion Sickness â and âSinus Pain: Can Over-the-Counter Medications Help?â
Divers Alert Network: âEars and Sinuses — Instructions for Equalizing Ears and Sinuses.â
Harvard Medical School, Womenâs Health Watch: âWhat to Do About Sinusitis.â
Tampa Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates: âSinusitis.â
Lindsey, H. ENT Today, July 2009.
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What Causes Excessive Pressure In Your Ears
Ear congestion occurs when your Eustachian tube becomes obstructed or is not functioning properly. The Eustachian tube is a small canal that runs between your nose and your middle ear. It helps equalize the pressure in your middle ear. When the Eustachian tube becomes clogged or closes off, you feel fullness and pressure in your ear. You might also experience muffled hearing and ear pain. These ear congestion symptoms can also be caused by problems in your middle ear or the ear canal that affects the eardrum .
When To See A Doctor About Inner Ear Pressure
While most causes of inner ear pressure are easy to treat, fullness in the ear may also have uncommon causes, including TMJ disorders or Menieres disease. You should see a doctor if there is severe pain, bleeding, dizziness, a foreign object that cannot be removed at home or if the pressure worsens despite at-home treatment. In cases where the ear pressure is recurrent, your doctor may do a surgical treatment called a myringotomy. During this procedure, your doctor will make a small incision in the eardrum to drain out fluid. This incision may be left open to heal, or the patient may have a small tube placed in the eardrum to aid in draining.
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Middle And External Ear Infections
A middle ear infection can cause ear congestion, as well as dizziness, ear pain, and occasionally fluid drainage. Theyre usually caused by colds or other respiratory problems that travel to the middle ear through the Eustachian tube.
External ear infections, also known as swimmers ear, are usually caused by water that remains in your ear after swimming or bathing, providing an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. You may experience pain, itching, redness, and clear fluid drainage or a discharge of pus.
Ear infections often resolve without treatment. Over-the-counter ear drops and pain medication can help relieve your symptoms. If your symptoms are severe or last more than two days, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Tips For Relieving Ear Pressure
Ear pressure refers to a feeling of fullness in the ears. This sensation is the result of the Eustachian tubes which help drain fluids from the middle ear as well as regulate air pressure malfunction or become blocked. Ear pressure is rarely the sign of anything serious, but it can still be unpleasant to deal with. Below we outline common causes of ear pressure and how to find relief.
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