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Having headache, runny nose and cough. Taking celexa for anxiety. Is this due to wearing ear plugs?

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Can wearing ear plugs every night (I am a light sleeper and noise wakes me) be the cause of my headaches, drainage down the back of my nose that leads to persistant throat clearing and coughing... These symptoms start mild in the am, but worsen as the day goes on. I also take 10mg of Celexa every am for anxiety, but seemd to have theseues before I started that.
Posted Fri, 19 Oct 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 4 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. The use of ear plugs will not lead to nasal symptoms.

2. Ear canal infections may result from the continuous use of tight fitting ear plugs which will be similar to those experienced by some hearing aid users.

3. Coughing may be triggered by the stimulation of Arnold's Nerve which is a branch of the Vagus Nerve (Tenth Cranial Nerve). This nerve supplies a part of the external ear canal. Stimulation of this nerve triggers coughing in many people.

4. Repeated use of tight ear plugs may also cause irritation of the cartilage of the outer end of the external ear canal leading to ear ache and then headache.

5. Interestingly, blocking the ear with ear plugs does not stop us from hearing completely. This is because one of the routes for sound and hearing is through the vibration of the skull itself. Sound also travels faster through a solid medium than through air. Hence the bone conduction of sounds through the skull is highly efficient and forms the basis of Bone Conduction (BC) hearing aids and the newer Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA).

6. Blocked sinuses are poorly ventilated and along with stasis of secretions, continuing infection and inflammation is common. This causes Chronic Sinusitis and a Post Nasal Drip (PND which is nasal secretions draining down the throat). This PND leads to frequent throat clearing and also coughing.

7. Regular steam inhalation is one of the best and simplest ways to keep the Nose and Sinuses healthy and functioning. If steam inhalation makes you uncomfortable, then your septal deviation and nasal obstruction is significant. A plain CT PNS (Para Nasal Sinuses) will definitely help understand your problem. The scan should be on a new generation multi-slice scanner with 1 mm coronal, axial and sagittal cuts.

8. Celexa (Escitalopram) is a vaso-constrictor and hence a nasal decongestant. Decongestion of the nasal and sinus mucosa (inner lining) increases the PND. Sometimes the nasal effects are due to the alteration of the Autonomous Nervous System by your current medications.

9. Worsening of symptoms in the evening may be related to maxillary sinusitis or the timing of your medication.

10. Kindly let me know the results of your investigations. This will help in suggesting further treatment.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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