Summer is drawing to a close, which means cold and flu season is right around the corner.
For people in Charleston, this can spell misery.
A runny or stuff nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, muscle aches and fatigue are common symptoms.
According to your audiologist, ear pain and pressure can also occur when you’re suffering from an illness.
Colds, Flu & the Ears
Colds, allergies and upper respiratory infections can all cause a plugged-up sensation in the ears, leading to pain and pressure.
This is due to anatomy; the ears, nose and throat are all closely connected—literally.
The Eustachian tube is an organ that connects the middle ears, nasal passages and upper throat.
Its function is to adjust the pressure in your ears, remove excess fluids and circulate air inside your ears.
Colds, allergies, upper respiratory infections and flu can all prevent the Eustachian tube from working as it should.
Inflammation and mucus secretions that accompany these conditions can create blockages that interfere with Eustachian tube function.
This swelling can cause fluid to build up, causing a plugged-up sensation and pressure in the ears.
Some people are more prone to ear discomfort when they’re sick because the Eustachian tube varies slightly in shape and size between different people.
A more narrow or horizontal organ is more likely to encourage excess fluid buildup—this is one reason why children, who are still growing, experience more ear infections than adults.
Other people naturally have more mucous linings at the opening of the Eustachian tube, making inflammation more common during an illness.
How to Relieve Ear Pressure
Pain and pressure in the ears are temporary; once your illness has run its course, these symptoms should clear up.
But this can take a week or longer—an eternity for those who are under the weather in Charleston.
There are steps you can take to relieve discomfort from pain and pressure in the ears.
The trick is to reduce congestion in the nose and throat so your Eustachian tube will stay open and do its job. Try the following:
- Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants
- Chewing gum
- Sucking on a throat lozenge or hard candy
- Taking a breath, then breathe gently with your mouth closed while holding your nostrils shut
If these tricks don’t work and your symptoms don’t clear up within a few days, or if you develop sharp ear pain, fluid drainage or hearing loss, you might be experiencing an ear infection.
Make an appointment with a Charleston hearing doctor for treatment.
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Our Charleston Area Audiologists Office Locations
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North Charleston, SC 29406
298 Midland Pkwy
Summerville, SC 29485
2005 2nd Avenue
Summerville, SC 29486