At some point, we have, or will experience, plugged or clogged up ears. This can happen by our own doing when we place earplugs into our ears, or it can happen on its own—leaving you to wonder why your ears feel clogged. When our ears feel clogged or plugged, and we are not sure why it can be alarming. When your ears feel blocked, the world can be more challenging to hear, and the sensation is not always pleasant. Sometimes you can feel pain or discomfort in the clogged ear, and straining to hear can become tiresome. Unfortunately, there are a few reasons for clogged ears, so knowing why this is occurring may not be immediately known.
The reasons for clogged ears can range from harmless to more severe conditions, so you must know and understand the possible causes of the blockage. Knowing the reason for your ailment can help you and your doctor treat the clog and help prevent it from happening again in the future.
Changes in Altitude
When there is a rapid change in air pressure outside of the body, the changes are felt in the ears, and blockages can occur. While this is typically temporary, it can still be alarming if you are not aware. Flying in an airplane, going up a mountain, and even scuba diving can all cause your ear to feel clogged temporarily.
A Blocked Eustachian Tube
Connecting the middle ear to the throat, a blocked Eustachian tube can cause your ear(s) to become clogged. Mucus and fluid flow from the Eustachian tube from the ear to the back of the throat, but when it becomes blocked, mucus and fluid can get trapped in the middle ear and cause the ear to become clogged.
Earwax plays an essential role in protecting your ears and keeping them clean. However, earwax can harden or become impacted, causing a blockage in the ear. Blockages can occur from sticking objects in your ear or from using a cotton swab in an attempt to clean the ear (which can push earwax deeper into the ear).
Having fluid in the ear can cause your ears to become clogged and can even become painful. You can get fluid trapped in the ear from bathing, swimming, or from being in a moist environment, and you don’t properly dry out your ears. Fluid can also build up in the ear, behind the eardrum, when you are suffering from a middle ear infection.
A more severe cause of clogged ears, acoustic neuroma is a benign growth that develops on the cranial nerve, which leads from the inner ear to the brain. While these types of tumors are typically small and slow-growing, they can put pressure on the nerves of the inner ear as they become larger.