First Do No Harm

Tips to Help Relieve Ear Congestion
by Jamie @ Boots Hearingcare

Ear congestion is a fairly common problem, but it can sadly be rather troublesome, even more so if you already suffer from some form of hearing loss, as it can worsen this issue. It is most often described as a simple blockage of the ear canal, and it can often be linked to a bad cold, allergies being set off, or having problems with the sinuses.

Different people can suffer from congestion of the ears in different manners, experiencing anything from a repeated popping sensation in the ear and hearing a wind in a tunnel sort of sound, to the annoying and uncomfortable feeling of being all blocked up and a tangible decrease in the ability to hear.

If you happen to be unfortunate enough to suffer from ear congestion yourself, then you know how run-down it can make you feel. You will want to be rid of the problem as soon as possible, so here are a few tips on how to do just that.

What’s Causing Your Ear Congestion?

If you have been on a plane recently, the congestion in your ear was likely caused by a difference in air pressure, and should clear up by itself over time. You just need to wait.

However, if you’ve had a cold or your hayfever is bad (etc.), what you’re suffering from is the ear-based version of nasal congestion.

If you’re also struggling to hear more than usual, it may be caused by an excess of wax. If it’s painful and you’re still suffering after 48 hours, you should go and get checked out by your GP.

Use Gravity to Help

Mostly, any ear congestion will be caused by a build-up of fluids in everyone’s favourite part of the middle ear, the Eustachian tubes. It’s likely that this is your problem, so try these solutions first.

You can lie on your side for up to an hour – gravity should cause the fluids to slowly drain. If you don’t have the time for this, you can always try this slightly silly-looking method: stand on one foot and tip your head to the blockage side, then start slowly hopping. Though it sounds mad, it changes your centre of gravity, so it can dislodge that build-up.

Make a Vacuum

This is the best way to deal with wax: with some practice and finesse, you should be able to make a vacuum in your ear by gently putting in your index finger and moving upwards slowly.

If this works (yay!) but you’re still having trouble hearing (boo!), you should probably see an audiologist. Book a free hearing test online at Boots hearingcare and get your results.

Inner Ear Pressure

If you’re still suffering after coming back down to earth from your holiday jaunts, the above tips will probably not be of much use to you whatsoever. What you can do instead is to try and equalise the pressure difference between your inner and middle ear, either by repeatedly swallowing hard or yawning.

If you’re having no success, Gizmodo recently published a handy little guide to fixing it, even explaining exactly why it happens!


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