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What causes plugged ears?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 2349 Questions
Hi, my 19-year-old daughter has had a feeling in her ears like they are plugged, and now she has noticed for the last couple weeks that her right ear is draining while sleeping on it. It this something to get checked?
Posted Sat, 30 Aug 2014 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 16 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Please see the answer below...

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for posting the query

The symptoms described by you could be related to otitis media (middle ear infection). Otitis media is the inflammation/infection of the middle ear, secondary to the blockage of the Eustachian tube (the tube connecting the nose and the ear). Once the nasal end of the Eustachian tube is blocked, the normal secretions of the middle ear get trapped, giving rise to the sensation of fullness in the ears. And, if the tension exceeds the normal limits, the ear drum will rupture and the fluid drains out.

You need to consult your doctor for a complete evaluation and management.

Meanwhile, you can try the following:
1. Encourage her to drink plenty of warm water.
2. Steam inhalation 3-4 times a day for 2 minutes.
3. To avoid chilled food and beverages/coffee.
4. Avoid plugging of the ear when it is discharging.

Hope with the above measures she will feel better. Revert back to me if you have any further queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes plugged ears? 2 hours later
With otitis media, wouldn't she have pain? She has no pain, fever and no dizziness, just the plugged sensation and drainage.
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 14 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please see the asnwer below...

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for writing back. I apologize for the delay in answering the query.

Otitis media is not always associated with the pain. Sometimes, a week ear drum may rupture even when there is subtle increase in the middle ear pressure.

Also, in some individuals soft and wet wax can drain out from outside the ear giving the appearance of ear discharge.

In either of the case, a complete examination of the ear can clear all the doubts and aid in further management.

Hope this clears your doubts.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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