Causes of a blocked middle ear:
The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum and is the canal that connects the outer part of your ear to the small organs located in the inner ear. When the middle ear is blocked, is can cause pain and severe discomfort. There are many different things that can cause the blockage which need to be addressed in different manners.
Build-up of wax:
The glands that create wax are located in the outer ear. It is normal to have a certain amount of wax since it protects the eardrum from foreign matter. However, an excessive build-up of the wax can actually cause a blockage. In this case, pressure on the eardrum can cause pain and you may have trouble hearing.
If you have wax build-up only occasionally, it can be treated with drops made to soften the wax and to rid the debris. However, if the build-up is chronic, then there could be another underlying problem and would likely need to visit an ear, nose and throat specialist.
Fluid or congestion:
When you are sick from a cold or the flu, congestion can build up in the middle ear as well. The Eustachian tube, which is located in the inner ear, helps to equalise air pressure behind your eardrum. When you have congestion or fluids in your ear, it should close. However, there are times when it doesn’t and this can lead to fluid building up in the middle ear. You may experience blockage that causes loss of hearing or even infection.
In these cases, you should see an ENT specialist as infection will need to be treated with medication. In some cases, especially for children, excessive pressure from continually building fluids in the middle ear will be treated by placing small drainage tubes in the eardrums.
A blocked middle ear can cause a great deal of discomfort as well as pain because it puts direct pressure on the eardrum. It can also lead to painful infections. No matter the reason for your blocked ear canal, you will need to see a doctor to have it corrected. Wax build-ups are usually related to an underlying cause. Fluid and congestion is usually related to a cold or the flu. In either case, the underlying cause needs to be treated first in order to clear up the blockage.
If you have questions about a blocked middle ear make an appointment to see our ear nose and throat specialist.