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    Head cold and Blocked Ears
    wingfan2008 posted:
    I have a head cold and blocked ears. It feels like I am flying in an airplane. What can I take to help this?
    Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
    You most likely have Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD)...

    There are two tiny ventilation and drainage tubes that run from our middle ear space (the area behind the eardrum) to the back of our throats (near the adenoids) called the eustachian tubes. The main purpose of these ventilation tubes is to make sure the middle ear space is filled with AIR at the same atmospheric pressure as the outside atmosphere. As tiny as these little tubes are, they tend to do a great job. However, they are prone to becoming ?dysfunctional?. Colds, allergies, environmental irritants, sinus infections, tonsillitis, cigarette smoke, airplane flights, driving in a mountainous area, etc. all can the eustachian tubes to malfunction. When this happens, fluid and/or changes in air pressure will occur in the sensitive middle ear space. This will compromise your hearing (stuffy, full feeling), and your ears may feel a need to ?pop.

    Most cases of ETD will self-resolve in a week or so. Rarely will ETD will become chronic, but it does happen. Although controversial, decongestants (like pseudoephedrine) can help, but not all people can medically use them. It is always best to check with your own medical provider first. Prescription nasal corticosteroid sprays have also be used, especially in people with allergies.

    Either way, it will take TIME to resolve, so be patient and hang in there. If your symptoms persists longer than a few weeks, or if you are having signs of infection (fever, sore throat, sinus pain, etc.), you need to inform your medical provider.
    cindysewhappy responded:
    I am in the same position. Except I only have one ear that's blocked and it seems to get worse day by day. At first I thought I could yawn and it would unpop, but it didn't. I've had an ear infection in the left ear and bronchitis for a week. I'm on an antibiotic for 10 days. this is only my 4th day on the med. I have been taking a pain reliever, and robitussin MAX dm. There is lots of violent coughing and nose blowing. It is driving me crazy. It feels like I put an ear plug in it. When I chew food it's very loud inside my head, annoying. I still can't taste food. I wonder if the blocked ear has anything to do with me not tasting. I've never had this happen this severely before. It scares me, that I'll lose my hearing.
    Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
    Most blocked ears associated with colds and/or middle ear infections will self-resolve in time. Unfortunately, it is not possible to know when (or even if) this will happen. Your stuffy nose and congestion is affecting your ability to taste - smell and taste are neurologically linked, so when the cold abates, your sense of smell and taste will return to normal again.

    Hang in there...your ear should clear by the time you finish your course of antibiotics.

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