Clogged ear with a runny nose, what to do?
- Causes of ear congestion with a cold
- What to do if the ear is blocked with a runny nose?
- Answers to popular questions
- Preventing ear congestion
Ear congestion with a runny nose is a symptom of multiple diseases of the ENT organs, such as sinusitis, otitis media, which occur as a result of damage to the mucous membranes by viruses and bacteria.
Most often this occurs during an exacerbation of colds. The connection between ear congestion and runny nose is due to the proximity of the hearing organs to the respiratory organs. Therefore, the inflammatory processes occurring in the nasal cavity often give complications to the hearing aid, even in the initial stages.
Causes of ear congestion with a cold
One of the unpleasant consequences of a cold is ear congestion caused by tissue edema due to inflammatory processes. Forming in the nasal cavity, edema passes into a canal called the Eustachian tube, which connects the nasopharynx to the tympanic cavity. The swelling narrows the canal, which creates a feeling of congestion, which causes great discomfort. To eliminate this unpleasant sensation, you need to know the mechanisms of its development and the reasons.
So, a hearing aid consists of an inner, middle, and outer ear. The outer and middle ear are separated by the tympanic membrane, and the latter is connected to the nasopharynx through a canal - the Eustachian tube, through which air flows from the nasal cavity to the ear. Air circulation maintains normal pressure. When the canal swells and its lumen narrows, the pressure in the middle ear increases, the eardrum bends, a feeling of congestion appears, which disrupts the functioning of the hearing aid.
The reasons that cause ear congestion with a runny nose include both viral and bacterial infections, and the presence of polyps (More: Polyps in the nose - why are they dangerous? Can it be cured without surgery?) And tumors, as well as functional disorders of the hearing organs. This ailment must be treated, since prolonged congestion indicates inflammation, which is fraught with various complications, up to complete hearing loss.
What to do if the ear is blocked with a runny nose?
If ear congestion is caused by a runny nose, then treatment should be aimed at eliminating both symptoms. And since they are a consequence of another disease, most often of an infectious nature, therapy for this ailment should also be carried out in parallel. In other words, the treatment is comprehensive.
To eliminate the symptoms of ear congestion, use:
- Vasoconstrictor drops to neutralize nasal congestion and swelling;
- Ear drops to neutralize puffiness and relieve inflammation in the ear area;
- Compresses for the ear area;
- Ear and nose massage;
- Exercises to equalize the pressure between the Eustachian tube and the middle ear.
Vasoconstrictor drops for ear congestion
Using nasal vasoconstrictor nasal drops is the fastest way to relieve nasal congestion and swelling.
Common vasoconstrictor drugs include:
- Tizine and many others.
The use of these funds is explained by the fact that the removal of edema from the nasal mucosa will reduce the edema of the Eustachian tube and relieve congestion. But this effect is temporary, and therefore vasoconstrictor drops are used only as a means to relieve symptoms. They should be used no more than five days, then addiction to the components that make up the funds occurs, which can complicate the patient's condition.
Anti-inflammatory drops for ear congestion
Anti-inflammatory ear drops are indispensable in the fight against hearing disorders.
Among the huge variety of such drugs, the most popular are:
- Sodium sulfacyl.
They should be used with great care, as many are very powerful and are not used in the early stages of hearing disorders. Therefore, the treatment of congestion with drops should be carried out under the supervision of a specialist.
Compresses for ear congestion
One of the effective ways to treat congestion is to use warming compresses based on saline solution (a teaspoon per five hundred milliliters of water), vodka or alcohol diluted to forty degrees. In them, a cotton swab or gauze is moistened, placed in the ear canal and applied to the ear tragus - the cartilaginous protrusion of the outer ear. The problem area is wrapped in polyethylene and a warm woolen scarf or shawl.
! These procedures are relevant only in the absence of purulent inflammation.
In addition, you need to carefully apply a compress so that the gauze soaked in vodka does not touch the auricle, since the skin on it is delicate and alcohol can cause tissue burns. Another way to carry out alcohol compresses is to insert cotton wool soaked in boric alcohol into the ear canal. The compress must be kept for 5 minutes, after 5 minutes a break. And so continue until the total holding time of the compress is 30 minutes.
It is possible to equalize the pressure between the Eustachian tube and the middle ear and thereby relieve congestion with the help of swallowing reflex and breathing exercises. Exercises are based on a deep breath in and out through the nose for ten to fifteen approaches. Another exercise is to try to exhale air by pinching your nose with your fingers while swallowing. True, the effect of such exercises does not occur immediately, but it helps to temporarily eliminate congestion.
Warming up from ear congestion
Another method to help relieve ear congestion is warming up. But this option is considered controversial, because there is no consensus among experts about the benefits and harms of ear warming. The only thing that can be stated unequivocally is that it is impossible to warm up the ears in case of purulent inflammatory diseases, such as severe otitis media. The warming up procedure is carried out with calcined salt or sand, as well as with a warm boiled egg. A boiled egg should be wrapped with a handkerchief, heated salt or sand should be poured into a bag and applied to the ear for fifteen minutes.
You can try massage around the nose and ears. Massage circular movements should be done with the pads of the fingers on the wings of the nose and behind the ears for fifteen minutes.
It is important, before carrying out all the described procedures, to free the nose from accumulated mucus by blowing your nose. All of these treatments for ear congestion should be supervised by an otolaryngologist who specializes in ear, nose, and throat problems.
Answers to popular questions
What to do if the ear is blocked from a runny nose? It is necessary to treat ear congestion in any case, but it is advisable to seek help from a specialist, since severe inflammation and swelling of the middle ear and Eustachian tube can lead to impairment and even loss of hearing. To alleviate the condition, although it is temporarily possible with the help of vasoconstrictor nasal drops - Naphtizin, Sanorin, Vibrocil, and also with the help of ear drops - Rivanol, Albucid, Otipax In addition, breathing-swallowing exercises with pinching of the nose can be performed to restore pressure between the Eustachian tube and the middle ear. It is also recommended to massage the ear and nasal areas, apply compresses and dry heating.
- What causes the ear to clog with a cold? Ear congestion during a runny nose is due to an inflammatory process that causes the formation of a large amount of mucus, swelling of the nasopharynx and the associated auditory canal. As a result of edema, narrowing of the canal walls occurs, which, together with an abundance of mucus, disrupts air circulation between the middle ear and the Eustachian tube, and this increases the pressure in the hearing organs and causes Eustachitis - ear congestion. Such a process can be provoked by infections, injuries, the formation of polyps, the pathological physiology of the respiratory and hearing organs.
Read more: Causes and symptoms of otitis media, how to treat it?
Preventing ear congestion
With a runny nose, Eustachitis can be greatly alleviated by regularly clearing mucus from the nasal passages. To do this, use the method of rinsing the nose with antiseptic agents - saline, herbal infusions of chamomile, calendula, as well as finished medicines - Dolphin and others.
To prevent the development of edema and congestion, prevention of colds should be carried out:
- Dress for the season and weather;
- Do not overcool and avoid drafts;
- Walk in the fresh air every day, and ventilate the room before going to bed;
- In the season of increasing colds (autumn, winter, spring), it is advisable to avoid public places and wash the nose with saline every day before going to bed;
- Take vitamins.
These simple steps will help to avoid colds, congestion and the development of many serious complications, for example, meningitis, otitis media.
The author of the article: Lazarev Oleg Vladimirovich | ENT
Education: In 2009, he received a diploma in the specialty "General Medicine" at the Petrozavodsk State University. After completing an internship at the Murmansk Regional Clinical Hospital, he received a diploma in Otorhinolaryngology (2010)