Ear congestion is a problem caused by clogging of the ear canal. The causes may be different. For these reasons, the Eustachian tube which connects the middle ear to the oesophagus enabling air entry and exit of the middle ear is damaged. Normally, the Eustachian tube presses air evenly on both sides of the eardrum, when it is clogged, the pressure in the middle ear is reduced and the eardrum is drawn in. A sense of congestion thereby appears on the ear.


The common causes of ear congestion include the following;

  • Exposure to a very loud noise
  • Pressure changes in the middle-ear (barotrauma)
  • Water escape into the ear.
  • Foreign bodies
  • Over accumulation of the ear wax
  • Ear diseases
  • Ear cleaning with cotton swab
  • Allergic reactions
  • Ear infections
  • Flu
  • Migraine
  • Sinus infections
  • Rarely, shoulder and neck muscle contractions, middle ear cysts, tumours, chin disorders may be included.


The most common symptoms of ear congestion are as follows:

  • Mild hearing loss
  • Aural fullness or sense of congestion on one ear or both ears
  • Pain in one or both ears
  • A yellowish pale discharge from the ear
  • Dizziness

If congestion persists for a long time; a feeling of pressure in the ears, such as under water, ear pain, moderate to severe hearing loss and bleeding from the nose may be seen.


Clogging of the ear is usually a temporary problem and resolves spontaneously. However, if congestion is accompanied by pain and fluid coming from the ear, a doctor should be consulted and self-intervention should be avoided.

The treatment in ear congestion is performed depending on the cause. First, Eustachian tube is opened and the pressure is decreased to relieve the ear. Gum chewing, exhaling by closing the nostrils and mouth, stretching may be performed for that. In cases where the Eustachian tube cannot be opened, surgical intervention (eardrum incision, ear tube insertion, etc.) may be required. If fluid accumulation in the ear is detected, the fluid is discharged through a surgical procedure.

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