So, Firstly What Are The Main Causes of Ear Pressure
Ear pressure is not only super annoying but it can also be a really painful experience. There are many causes of ear pressure. These causes include:
- Changes in Altitude– This is one of the most common causes of ear pressure and is usually felt when travelling by plane or in high up places such as when climbing steep hills.
- Sinusitis– Sinusitis can be extremely painful and centres around a build up in the sinuses, this can cause feelings of pressure in the ear which can be uncomfortable.
- Ear Infections– Ear infections are very common amongst children and also adults. They are by no means rare, and can cause both pain and pressure in the ear.
- Colds– Although colds are usually mild and not too painful, when they are more severe they can cause discomfort all over your face including in your ears, which can manifest as pressure.
- Allergies– When it comes to allergies everybody is different. Allergies can affect you in an infinite number of ways. It is not out of the question for allergies to cause ear pressure which can be extremely frustrating and painful.
- Earwax Build Ups– Another common cause of ear pressure is simply a build up of earwax which is very natural.
- Foreign Objects– As unusual as this may sound, another reason for ear pressure can be the presence of a foreign object in the ear. Foreign objects could include anything from beads to insects.
There are also much rarer causes including Meniere’s disease, Cholesteatoma, Acoustic Neuroma, Fungal Ear Infections, Chronic Otitis Media and Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ).
How Can You Relieve This Pressure?
There are many ways that you can relieve ear pressure, which one is right for you to use partially depends on the cause of the ear pressure so once you have established this it is time to combat the problem. Ways to relieve said pressure, include:
- Chewing Gum– Chewing gum is a great way of reducing ear pressure. This is because it opens the eustachian tube, allowing the air which has the new atmospheric pressure to get into your inner ear. This evens out the pressure and makes internal pressure match with external pressure providing instant relief. Obviously, how useful this tactic is depends upon the cause of the ear pressure.
- Breathing– Inhaling and then exhaling while holding your nose so that your nostrils are closed can relieve pressure by making your ears pop. This sometimes works because when there is a difference in pressure this can potentially cause your eardrums to bulge either inwards or outwards thus creating a feeling of fullness inside your ear. The popping of the ears allows the eardrum to come back into place and therefore relieves pressure.
- Yawning– Yawning serves a very similar purpose to chewing gum. It once again opens up the eustachian tube allowing air to flow freely in and out of the middle ear and therefore equalising pressure on either side of the eardrum. This can massively reduce pressure in the ear.
- Antibiotics– Antibiotics are a slightly different approach to reducing ear pressure. These tablets are designed to attack infection and therefore are a great (and arguably the only) option if your ear pressure is caused by an infection. It is always important to consult with a doctor before starting any medication, in this case antibiotics. They will advise if this is the right course of action, if you get the green light and start a round of antibiotics you should notice your symptoms start to subside within a few days.
- Blow Your Nose– Blowing your nose creates the same effect as the suggested breathing exercise. It can help your ears to pop and therefore reduce fullness. Similarly, if your ears are full due to blocked sinus’ it can help to unclog the thicker mucus. Blowing your nose can help with most causes of ear pressure so should potentially be used as one of your first attempts to relieve pressure.
- Drink Lots Of Water– Drinking lots of water is always a good idea as it has several health benefits. This is truer than ever when you are suffering from ear pressure. This is most useful if the cause of your ear pressure is congested sinuses/ sinusitis as it can start to break down the thick mucus and get everything moving. This paired with the above, blowing your nose, can really help to combat sinus issues.
- Place A Few Drops of Olive Oil or Mineral Oil in Your Ear– This is one of the most effective home remedies for ear pressure. It can help to soften hard ear wax and therefore relieve congestion. It is important that it is used in moderation and you do not apply too much or too little oil.
- Over The Counter Pain Relief– The use of over the counter medication such as Acetaminophen can help to reduce the pain caused by ear pressure. Although this does not address the root cause of the problem it can provide a much needed break from the pain. It is important that you read pain relief instructions carefully to make sure that it is appropriate for you to be taking and that you are taking the right doses as when not taken correctly medication can be dangerous or even fatal. If you feel that you need something stronger than medication available in the shop it may be a good idea to see what your doctor is willing to prescribe for you.
Ear pressure can be very distressing to deal with and it is understandable that you want to find out how to relieve the pain and discomfort. As previously stated, the best way to do this is to first understand the route cause of your ear pressure.
Once you have figured this out it will be much easier to combat the issue. Using whichever of the above tactics are applicable (be this one, or several) may be the best place to start, just ensure that you consult your doctors before you start taking any medication.