Ear Fullness Causes

Ningthoujam Sandhyarani Mar 2, 2019
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Fullness feeling in the ear is indeed a bothersome health issue. Identifying the probable causes of ear fullness is a basic step to determine effective tips for dealing with this ear discomfort condition.
The human ear is a primary organ of the auditory system, which works in a complex manner. This anatomical structure does the main function of detecting sound waves and passing them to the brain, according to which the body responds and balances itself.
Both the ear and brain work in coordination to distinguish between different types of sounds. Being a sensitive organ, ear is prone to several medical problems, of which one common case is fullness feeling and increased pressure.
Learning how the human ear works is an easy way for identifying ear fullness. The exact reason for causing ear fullness is attributed to problems with the Eustachian tubes. These are a pair of tube like structures measuring about 1.5 inches, which link the middle ear with the back of the nose (nasopharynx).
Their main role is providing ventilation to the space of middle ear, and regulating air pressure on either side of the tympanic membrane (commonly known as eardrum).
Besides regulating ear pressure, Eustachian tubes help get rid of unwanted particles (pathogens, debris) from the middle ear cavity. Thus, proper functioning of these parts is crucial for normal sound detection and hearing. When they do not open or close correctly, problems like frequent ear infections, fullness, cracking noise, ear pain, etc., are expected.

Change in Ear Pressure

Human ear is highly sensitive to minute changes in atmospheric pressure. But, any abnormal change in the ear pressure is a leading cause of fullness feeling in the ear. It is the function of the Eustachian tubes to regulate pressure in middle ear cavity to a near normal level. If it is disturbed, ear pressure and fullness feeling are manifested.

Ear Infections

One of the most common causes of ear fullness sensation is middle ear infection. It blocks the Eustachian tubes, thereby affecting their normal function and causing ear fullness.
Also, infection may be caused due to drop in the air pressure. As air pressure falls in the middle ear cavity, a vacuum is created and unwanted materials are collected into the space. Following this, infection occurs in the middle ear.

Blockage of Eustachian Tubes

In a healthy person, the Eustachian tubes open every time when he/she opens his/her mouth widely, swallows, yawns or even while blowing the nose.
This can be felt like a 'pop' in the ear, which allows air to flow from the middle ear cavity to the nasophrarynx. But, problems do occur, when these tubes do not pop. Under such cases, air circulation is disturbed, causing fullness feeling in the ear.

Other Causes

Another reason for ear fullness is excess buildup of earwax or cerumen, which may also result in ear pain and plugged ear sensation. This frustrating condition may also be manifested as a referred sign of allergies, sinus infections, common cold, etc. The point is, anything that causes Eustachian tube dysfunction may contribute to ear fullness.

Dealing with Ear Fullness

Feeling of fullness in the ear is often associated with mild hearing impairment conditions. As we have seen, air pressure in the middle air cavity should be equal to ambient atmospheric air for normal functioning of ear and addressing ear fullness. If pressure inside the ear is lower than the outside, the eardrum bulges in the inward direction.
The opposite occurs when ear pressure is greater than outside. Both cases may result in ear fullness. Ear popping is a simple way to equalize air pressure and combat ear fullness. This can be achieved by blowing balloons, chewing gum and yawning.
Exhaling forcibly by keeping the mouth shut and holding the nose also aid in opening blocked Eustachian tubes. In addition, the tips for ear fullness treatment involve clearing earwax and addressing ear infections, allergic responses, sinusitis and common cold (if any).
In case, the sensation of ear fullness persists for an extended period, or if it doesn't disappear with simple remedies, medical attention is necessary. The doctor will examine the condition and conduct diagnostic tests to rule out possible ear fullness causes. Accordingly, medications and other treatment options will be directed for the patient.
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