What Is Ear Fullness?
Ear Fullness is a condition in which an individual has a sensation as if the ears are congested or stuffed, specifically when doing things like yawning or swallowing. An individual with ear fullness may also experience slight hearing impairment as a result of this. Fullness in Ear or Ear Fullness is normally caused due to a blockage of the Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube connects the ear to the throat and also facilitates drainage of fluid from the middle ear, as if there is accumulation of fluid in the middle ear it may lead to frequent ear infections causing pain and swelling. Ear Fullness can also be caused when flying in an airplane due to sudden changes in the air pressure. Ear Fullness can also be caused by a rupture of the eardrum. Majority of cases of fullness in ears arise from normal cough and flu and resolve on its own but certain symptoms may point to a more serious condition and may require immediate medical attention, especially if symptoms do not improve after a couple of days and is accompanied by high grade fever along with excruciating pain, swelling and erythema surrounding the ears, or if there is persistent drainage from the ear.
What Are The Causes Of Ear Fullness?
Some of the common causes of Ear Fullness are:
- Chronic ear infections
- Chronic tonsillitis
- Common cold
- Otitis externa
- Otitis media
- Upper Respiratory Infection.
Some of the other causes of Ear Fullness are:
- Acoustic neuroma, which is a condition in which there is a benign tumor of the nerve which connects the inner ear to the brain
- Severe changes in air pressure like when flying in an airplane
- Excessive buildup of ear wax
- Eustachian tube dysfunction
- Exposure to loud noises like being involved with frequent drilling, hammering, listening to loud music
- Presence of a foreign body in the ear
- Hay fever.
Some of the serious causes of Ear Fullness are:
In some instances, Ear Fullness can be caused due to an infection of the bone behind the ear which is a potentially serious condition and needs immediate medical attention.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ear Fullness?
Some of the symptoms that accompany Ear Fullness are:
- Severe pain along with tenderness around the ear
- Itching around the ear
- Drainage of pus from the ear
- Erythema and swelling around the ear.
Some of the other symptoms that may accompany Ear Fullness are:
Some of the symptoms that may point to a serious condition are:
- High fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit not coming down even after a couple of days
- Severe headaches
- Severe unrelenting pain
- Severe tenderness behind the ear over the bone behind the ear.
How Is Ear Fullness Diagnosed?
In order to confirmatively diagnose the cause of the Ear Fullness, the treating physician will ask the following questions to the affected individual:
- What has been the duration of the feeling of ear fullness?
- Is the individual on any medications which might be causing ear fullness?
- Is there any discharge from the ear?
- Are there any other health concerns?
- Has the individual been on an airplane recently?
- Has the individual been exposed to loud noises like a musical concert and the like?
What Are The Complications Of Ear Fullness?
Ear Fullness is normally a benign condition and resolves with easy home remedies but it is imperative to get it checked out in order to rule out any serious cause of the condition. Once a cause is identified then it is imperative to follow the physician's instructions regarding treatment plan. Some of the potential complications of Ear Fullness are:
- Facial paralysis
- Permanent hearing loss
- Recurring ear infections
- Speech impairment
- Spread of infection to other parts of the body.
What Are Treatments For Ear Fullness?
As stated, Ear Fullness is a benign condition and resolves by practicing some easy home treatments. In case an individual is having severe symptoms of infection that is not resolving to normal treatments then it is advisable to consult with an ENT physician for further workup. Illustrated below are some treatments for Ear Fullness especially due to excessive ear wax, changes in barometric pressure, and due to infections.
Treatment For Excessive Ear Wax Causing Ear Fullness: It is absolutely vital to remove ear wax from the ear periodically and clean the ears. This can be done by applying a little bit of oil inside the ear. In case if there is severe buildup of wax in the ear, then this procedure may need to be done on a continuous basis for about a week to 10 days. Once the wax becomes soft then it can be taken out with some warm water.
Pressure Release: When traveling in an airplane there is a sudden change in air pressure which can cause Ear Fullness. Thus it is preferable to take some toffee or a drink to avoid ear fullness. Another effective way of relieving pressure is to inhale deeply closing the nostrils and then exhaling slowly.
Pain Relief: To relieve pain use of a warm compress is quite effective.
Home Remedies For Ear Fullness
Some of the home remedies suggested for Ear Fullness are:
Garlic Oil for Getting Rid of Ear Fullness: Putting a few drops of garlic oil in the ear is quite effective in softening up the wax and cleaning the ear. It also does the additional job of eliminating any bacteria that may be present. To prepare garlic oil, one can take a couple of cloves of garlic and put in the normal oil and heat it. Let the oil cool down and then out it in the ear.
Peppermint Juice For Relieving Ear Fullness: This is also quite effective in relieving Ear Fullness, as it relieves any pressure that may be built up in the ear. This can be prepared easily by crushing some peppermint leaves and then grind it.
Hydrogen Peroxide For Ear Fullness: This is yet another effective home remedy for relieving Ear Fullness and for pain relief. It also helps in softening the ear wax so that they can be removed easily.
Sesame Seed Oil: This oil when mixed with ginger juice is quite helpful in getting rid of Ear Fullness.
One can follow the above home remedies to get rid of Ear Fullness but in case these treatments are not helpful and there are worsening of symptoms it is best to get worked up by an ENT specialist to rule out other more serious conditions causing this Ear Fullness.