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What medicine to take for clogged left ear after air travel ?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2008
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The day i flew back from Mexico, i got a cold the night before. When i landed in the US, my left ear was completely clogged. I waited a day or 2 but it didn't get better so i went to an Internist who told me to take Sudafed. I did go through a full pack of Sudafed but it didn't really get better.
It's been more than a week now and my ear is still clogged - I tried the Vasalva manoeuvers a few times, tried to take eardrops; nothing seems to help. When i do the vasalva maneuver, I can hear some noise in my ear (some air escaping i think), but that's about it. I am planning to go out backpacking at over 5000 feet this week-end, is this a good idea ? I feel fine otherwise.


36 years old, 200lbs, no medical history - excellent health.
Posted Thu, 3 May 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Puneet Maheshwari 27 minutes later

Thanks for the query,

Let me tell you the whole pathology behind this condition. The Eustachian tube, connects the pharynx with the middle ear, it is partially bony and partially cartilagneous. The function of this tube is to equalize the air pressure of ear and pharynx.

Normally the tube remains patent, and serves the function, but in case of any common cold attack, due to increased production of mucous, the tube gets blocked, leading to reduction of air in the middle ear, and this causes blocking sensation in ears, ( your case).

Dont worry, it is a benign condition, that usually occurs after an attack of cold, or air journey or any other pressure change etc.

What you will have to do now--- consult an ENT surgeon.

1- Continue valsalva atleast 3-4 times a day.

2- steam inhalation 3 times a day.

3- A mucolytic drug once a day like ambroxol 75 mg.

4- A decongestant drug like pseudoephdrine.


under the supervision of an ENT surgeon. Take this regimn just for 5-7 days, and I believe that you will be all rite.

After this you may enjoy the backpacking.

Hope this will help you. and i am ready for fulure follow ups ( if any).

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What medicine to take for clogged left ear after air travel ? 13 minutes later
Hi Doc,

thanks for the reply. Is it safe for me to go backpacking *in* the condition i have right now ?
I feel fine except for the clogged ear and weirdness it generates in the head (internal resonance, muted noises, etc).



Answered by Dr. Puneet Maheshwari 6 minutes later
Hi again,

Thanks for writing back to me.

Right now it is not safe to go for backpacking, coz it will aggravate the condition, but you can try this after the symptoms subside.

The muted noises are again a clinical feature of blocked eustachian tube, and it will subside after the above mentioned therapy of 7 days.

After this period, you may go for backpacking.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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