- With Mayo Clinic pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist
Laura J. Orvidas, M.D.close window
Laura J. Orvidas, M.D.
- Cold or allergy: Which is it?
- Plugged ears: What is the remedy?
Lifestyle and home remedies (7)
- Vicks VapoRub: An effective nasal decongestant?
- Honey: An effective cough remedy?
- Neti pot solution: Can I make my own?
- see all in Lifestyle and home remedies
Alternative medicine (3)
- Echinacea: Is it effective for the common cold?
- Zinc for colds: The final word?
- Do the benefits of vitamin C include improved mood?
- Flu germs: How long can they live outside the body?
Plugged ears: What is the remedy?
I'm just getting over a bad cold, and my ears have been plugged for more than a week. What causes this? Is there any remedy for plugged ears?
from Laura J. Orvidas, M.D.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
|Inside your ear|
With plugged ears, your eustachian tubes — which run between your middle ear and the back of your nose — become obstructed. You may also have ear pain. You can try to forcibly open your eustachian tubes by taking a deep breath and trying to blow out while pinching your nostrils closed and closing your mouth. If you feel a popping noise, you know you have succeeded.
When treatment is needed, doctors focus on getting air to flow into the eustachian tubes. Options for clearing plugged ears include:
- Oral decongestants
- Nasal spray antihistamines
- Topical nasal steroids
- Ventilation tubes, in severe cases, to drain fluid and relieve pressure
If your symptoms are severe and last longer than a few weeks, consider seeking care from an ear, nose and throat specialist.Next question
Vicks VapoRub: An effective nasal decongestant?
- Seibert JW, et al. Eustachian tube function and the middle ear. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2006;39:1221.
- Poe D, et al. Eustachian tube dysfunction. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 8, 2011.