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How to Alleviate Ear Pressure

Ear pressure can be an uncomfortable feeling when one or both of your ears feel clogged. Ear pressure occurs when the eustachian tube becomes partially or completely blocked as a consequence of common colds, allergies, or sinusitis. When the eustachian tube gets blocked, sounds may become muffled and you may experience pressure, pain, or fullness in your ear. 

Causes of ear pressure

Ear pressure can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Earwax buildup

Sinus congestion

Sinusitis affects about 1 in 8 adults annually and generally occurs when viruses or bacteria infect the sinuses and begin to multiply. Sinusitis can cause inflammation and swelling, causing your sinuses to ache with a dull pressure. You may feel pain in your forehead, sides of your nose, upper jaw and teeth, and between your eyes. 

There are many at-home remedies to treat sinusitis. These include:

  • Steam treatment – Breathe in steam from a humidifier to reduce pressure
  • Saline flush – Saline spray contains salt that can help increase moisture in your nose and reduce sinus pressure
  • OTC decongestants – OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve pain or swelling

Earwax buildup

Earwax is produced as a self-cleaning force by the body. It helps protect the ear from infections and damage. While earwax is important to prevent ear infections and damage, excessive earwax buildup can cause earaches, ear pressure, and headaches. 

Earwax can be removed by using solutions such as mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide to dissolve earwax. When the removal of excessive earwax is necessary, one should seek medical treatment. 

Ear infections

Ear infections may also cause ear pressure. These occur when fluids remain in the middle ear for an extended period of time, which results in severe pain, fever, and hearing loss. OTC pain medication or ear drops may be recommended to ease the pain. 

When ear infections become chronic, they call for ear tubes to be inserted. Ear tubes are cylinder shapes placed in the eardrum to help admit air through the middle ear canal. 


Allergic rhinitis is a common condition in which people are allergic to pollen, molds, or pet dander. This can cause inflammation of the nasal passages and mucus buildup, which can also affect the Eustachian tube, resulting in ear pressure. OTC antihistamines or corticosteroid nasal sprays can help relieve your allergy symptoms.

It is important to understand what is causing your ear pressure and how you can manage it. If you’re experiencing chronic ear pressure or congestion, make an appointment with Dr. Marc Dean at the Ear and Sinus Institute today!

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Call Us to Schedule an Appointment: (817) 332-4060
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