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Anon. asked...

Muffled hearing

Hi, for a few days I have woken up with my left ear being very muffled. This normally clears up within a short period of time but today my hearing is muffled and my ear feels like it needs to pop but it won't.

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The answer

It is not unusual for the eustachian tube from the inner ear to become blocked if you have nasal irritation from an upper respiratory tract infection or excess nasal secretions from allergies or sinus irritation as these are very narrow tubes and drain into the back of the nasal passages allowing the pressure within the inner ear to stay equal to that of the atmosphere.

Treatment is usually managing the underlying cause. If the cause is a cold it may mean treating this with a decongestant for a few days. If allergy related it may mean using a corticosteroid nasal spray to reduce the nasal irritation.

If this does not help and persists over time, you may need referral to an ENT specialist for insertion of grommets to help equal the pressure within the inner ear.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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