why do your ears pop when you have a cold
Between thePjet lag, dry air, and muscle-crampingPseating in coach, flying can really do a number on your health. PBut one of the most common body complaints fliers experience tends to go overlooked or be blown off as no big deal: cloggedPor pluggedPears. The proper term is ear barotrauma, which pretty accurately describesPthe pain and discomfort the condition typically causes. ThisPcomplaint isnt just a passing annoyance. Besides startingPyour vacation or business trip on aPparticularly sour note,Pit can also lead toPsome pretty serious complications, too. P
To understand whats behind that cloggedPsensation, youll need a quick anatomy lesson. Your ear is divided into three sections: the outer ear, the middle ear (which houses the eardrum), and the inner ear. The middle ear is connected to the back of the nose and upper throat via a passageway called the eustachian tube, whose job it is to stabilize the air pressure levels between your nose and ear. Our eustachian tubes open and close multiple times a day, but the passageway is so tiny that we dont really notice it as long as its moving properly, says Ana Kim, MD, an otolaryngologist at ColumbiaDoctors Midtown and associate professor of otolaryngologyhead and neck surgeryPat Columbia University Medical Center in New York. RELATED: When were flying, however, theres a rapid change in the barometric [air] pressure, which causes a collapse of the eustachian tubes and interferes with the normal air flow from the nose to the ear, explains Kim. Getting on a planePwhile you're sick with a cold or other head infection that triggers nasalPcongestionPmakes those changes in air pressure even worse. P If you have an active ear or, youre taking away what little volume of air you have [in the Eustachian tube] by flying, which could cause a lot of pain, says Kim. a few weeks ago when she hopped a flight while fighting a cold and ended up with a rupturedPear drum due to changes in cabin pressure, boyfriend Blake Shelton told Entertainment Tonight.
To re-stabilize the air pressure levels and prevent uncomfortable aching, youll need to open upPthose tubes. Here are three things to try if it happens to you. Pinch your nose and blow gently! To get your ears to pop, you can try closing off your nose and mouth, then gently forcing the air into the middle ear. Do notrepeat, do not blow too hard. Doing so can actually rupture the membranes of the cochlea (the organ that allows us to hear), says Kim. And when that happens, fluid can leak out, causing hearing loss, nerve damage, dizziness, or a type of ringing in the ear called tinnitus. RELATED: Move your mouth muscles Call it a good reason to keep a pack of gum in your carry-on: moving the muscles of your jaw by chewing, yawning, or swallowing water or another beveragePcan help reopen the eustachian tubes, saysPKim. If you're traveling with a baby or toddler and you suspect (or they tell you) their ears are plugged up, have them sip juice or water or use a pacifier to get those mouth muscles going. Take a decongestant Medications like Afrin shrink blood vessels and reducePinflammation in your nasal cavity. Since it works right away, you can take it 10 minutes before takeoff to prevent your ears from clogging in the first place. POne word of caution: Although these meds are over-the-counter, people who have heart problems or are pregnant shouldnt take themPunless theyve cleared it with their doctor. To get our best wellnessPadvice delivered to you inbox, sign up for theP If the clogging doesn t go away. Most of the time, the pressure should clear up a few hours after youre back on land, she says. If it lingers longerinto the following day, for exampleyou might have a buildup of fluid behind your ear that isnt ventilating properly.
For that, youll probably want to see a doctor. PNot only will you experience some temporary hearing loss (everyone will sound like you're listening to themPunderwater)Pyou could put yourself at risk of a seriousPinfection. [custom_frame_center shadow= on ] [/custom_frame_center] Have the flu or a cold? Clogged ears? Why does flu cause blocked ears, leaving you feel woolly headed and about as mentally competent as a goldfish? We can help. Your ears are designed to keep themselves clean. A small amount of earwax is normal: it helps clean, protect, lubricate and fight infections in the ear canal. When you chew, cough, speak or otherwise move your jaw, you are naturally helping the wax to slide along the canal. Why does flu cause blocked ears? Medical practitioners are often asked вWhy does flu cause blocked ears? в The explanation is simple. If you have or have recently had the flu, a cold or allergies, your Eustachian tubes (the vessels that run between your ears and the back of your nose) can become blocked, leaving you feeling uncomfortable, woolly headed and partially deaf. Even if the trapped fluid in the ear is not infected, the fluid may press against the eardrum, causing it to bulge and throb. You may experience mild to very painful earache. Luckily, this kind of plug is usually temporary and goes away with the illness. However, if your ears are blocked and you also have earache, partial hearing loss, tinnitus or itching or a discharge from the ear, you have probably developed an ear infection. Make a booking with your medical practitioner. If youвre struggling with ear congestion brought on by flu, a cold or allergies, youвre advised by the Mayo Clinic to take a deep breath, pinch your nostrils, close your mouth and then blow. A popping noise will signal that youвve successfully cleared them.
If you have an ear infection, you need to consult your healthcare practitioner for treatment. Try ear candling. are stick- or cone-shaped вcandlesв made of beeswax and unbleached cotton cloths that have been impregnated with essential oils (Flora Force Ear Candles are infused with sage and tea tree oils). They offer a holistic way to treat blocked ears and other common aural ailments. An ear candle is inserted into the affected ear and the tip is lit. The heat from the flame creates a light suction action and the movement of the flame creates a vibration of air in the ear candle, creating a feeling of warmth and relaxation. вЕThe ear candle does not actually remove earwax, but may soften it to allow the body to get rid of it naturally. Ears usually feel less blocked after a candling session. If you are suffering with a mild ear infection, the effect of warm smoke in the ear canal may soothe the discomfort. The process has been described as вa therapeutic relaxation technique similar to acupressure, acupuncture and aromatherapyв. Ear candles and candling are regarded askance by allopathic medical practitioners, but this ancient remedy clearly benefits its users, who vouch that it soothes clogged ears. The main benefit claimed by regular users of ear candles is the release of stress, negative energy and anxiety that they experience. It all comes down to personal choice. NOTE Donвt stick anything in your ear в that includes ear buds в to try to clear out earwax. You run a great risk of pushing the wax further into your ear canal or, if you have an injured eardrum, increasing your chances for infection. If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, see your doctor to clear a clogged ear rather than try to do it yourself. Donвt use ear candles if you have a perforated eardrum.
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