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Why Do My Ears Feel Clogged? Top 5 Causes

Why Do My Ears Feel Clogged? Top 5 Causes

If your ears feel clogged, stuffy, congested, or any other sensation of pressure, we understand it can be quite a nuisance. You may experience troubled hearing, crackling noises, and even discomfort. If you’re looking to diagnose and treat your pesky ear congestion, you’re in luck!

The team at ExcelENT breaks down the top seven causes of ear stuffiness and what you can do to find relief. Fortunately, no matter the cause of your ear congestion, a home remedy or doctor-prescribed medication can likely help. Keep on reading to find out what’s causing clogged ears and what treatment is right for you!

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

The eustachian tubes connect the ear to the throat and, when working correctly, drain fluid and mucus from the back of the ear to the throat, where it’s swallowed naturally. But, if the tube is swollen or damaged, fluid can build up in the tube. This build-up can be caused by numerous culprits like the common cold, flu, allergies, respiratory infections, and sinusitis, leading to feelings of pressure and stuffiness.

If you’re just getting over an illness, eustachian tube dysfunction may be to blame for your ear congestion. We recommend over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines to treat this odd sensation. If your symptoms persist, you may need antibiotics or ventilation tubes, so don’t hesitate to visit your local ENT for treatment.

Middle Ear Infection

Ear infections, called otitis media, are characterized by fluid or infection in the middle ear. Ear infections can be uncomfortable and cause fever, ear drainage, trouble sleeping, and other unwanted symptoms. As we mentioned above, ear infections can cause eustachian tube dysfunction, which can cause feelings of pressure too.

If symptoms are mild, at-home remedies and OTC medications may be sufficient. But, if symptoms persist for more than two days, you should seek medical care. An experienced ENT can diagnose any problems and offer treatments like ear drops or antibiotics.

Earwax Buildup

Earwax can quickly build up inside your ears and lead to clogged and stuffy ears. If your ears are full of earwax, you may experience pain, feeling of fullness, hearing loss, and even infection. While cleaning your ears with a Q-tip may seem tempting, Q-tips can push the earwax deeper into your ear, which can cause serious problems and leave clogged ears as the least of your worries.

Instead, we recommend flushing your ears. You may be able to do this at home with steam therapy, but to ensure the job is done right, we advise you to visit a local ENT who can safely and effectively remove your pesky earwax.

Hearing Loss

Sometimes, hearing loss can feel as though your ears are clogged. While the sensation may feel different for everyone, stuffy, clogged ears may indicate the outer and middle parts of your ear cannot carry sounds into your inner ear, which is where the magic of hearing happens. You may feel this sensation in one or both of your ears, but it usually occurs suddenly and worsens over time.

If you’re experiencing clogged ears seemingly without cause, you should seek medical treatment. You may be experiencing age-induced or noise-related hearing loss, or there may be a more severe problem behind your ear congestion. Luckily, a trusted audiologist can diagnose, treat, and help you manage hearing loss.


Persistent ringing, buzzing, clicking, or hissing noises in the ear is called tinnitus. This condition usually develops because of damage to the microscopic nerve ending in the inner ear. However, ear infections, allergies, head or neck injuries, muscle spasms in the inner ear, and certain medications can contribute to the odd sounds too. Tinnitus caused by ear infections and muscle spasms specifically can cause sensations of fullness and congestion in the ears.

Depending on the cause of your tinnitus, there may or may not be a treatment. While you and your ENT work to find a specific reason, we recommend avoiding exposure to loud noises, excessive amounts of caffeine, and lowering your sodium intake. These tips may be able to lessen the severity of your tinnitus.

Find Relief from Clogged Ears Fast

At ExcelENT, we’re here to help you find the cause of your congested ears. We understand it can be annoying to deal with daily, and we don’t hesitate to exhaust all possible solutions so you can find relief. Depending on the cause of your ear congestion, we offer numerous treatments like medications, ear flushing, ear drops, and more. With years of experience, we can help you get back to normal quickly!

Your Ear & Hearing Experts: ExcelENT

Proudly serving the Birmingham metro area, our team can evaluate, diagnose, and treat various ear, nose, and throat ailments. Call us at 205-988-6858 or contact us online to live to find relief from clogged ears!

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