Remedies for a clogged up ear

Dr. Vincent Ostrowski says spring allergies cause nasal congestion, which tends to block the eustachian tube and lead to clogged ears. (Photo courtesy of Midwest Ear Institute)

Dr. Vincent Ostrowski says spring allergies cause nasal congestion, which tends to block the eustachian tube and lead to clogged ears. (Photo courtesy of Midwest Ear Institute)

Wax buildup and fluid in the ears are some of the more common causes of a clogged ear, says ENT specialist Dr. Vincent Ostrowski, who practices at the northeast and northwest Indianapolis branches of highly rated Midwest Ear Institute. “That is usually caused by eustachian tube dysfunction,” he says. “The eustachian tube can get blocked up due to allergies, a person smoking a lot or having a cold.”

Dr. Jim Miner, an ENT specialist who practices at the Greenfield location of highly rated Otolaryngology Associates, says dizziness and bad pain are symptoms that make a clogged ear more serious. Over-the-counter decongestants can provide relief, Miner says, but it’s best to be patient and avoid popping your ear, which can lead to ear infections or even permanent hearing loss.

Both doctors agree it’s important to seek medical attention. “If things aren’t improving with a home remedy or medication within a few days, then it’s definitely worth having [it] looked at,” Ostrowski says. Miner says the sense of fullness in the ear could be from hearing loss.

The cost of a new patient visit with a doctor at Midwest varies by complexity, but averages around $140. Ostrowski says hearing tests may also be needed. For clogged ears, this typically consists of two audiometric studies totaling $110. Both the physician visit and hearing tests for a medical problem are usually covered by insurance.

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