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Sinus Infections and Ear Pain

June 12, 2018

Workings of the Inner Ear

Eustachian tubes are small canals about on and a half inches long and only a few millimeters in diameter. These tubes connect the back of your throat, nose, and middle ear. They are typically closed, but they open when you swallow, yawn, or talk. It serves a few different purposes.

The middle ear plays a large role in the sounds you hear. As sound waves enter in the ear, the middle ear converts these vibrations to your inner ear and brain. For this equation to work correctly, there must be the same air pressure internally as there is in the atmosphere around you. As a result, the eustachian tubes open periodically to circulate air and equalize the air pressure.

Another function of the eustachian tube is drainage. If there is mucus buildup, the tubes will open to release any excess into the back of the throat. That's why some people confuse a sinus infection for a sore throat.

Sinus Infection and the Eustachian Tube

When an upper respiratory infection is present, such as a sinus infection, parts of the nasal cavity become infected. The inflammation causes swelling and blockages in the eustachian tubes and other drainage passageways of the sinuses. As the trapped fluid begins to accumulate, the pressure starts to build on the tubes causing a lot of discomforts. If not appropriately treated, the buildup could lead to sinusitis or otitis media.

Relieving Sinus Pressure Inside the Ear

Internal ear pressure is very uncomfortable. When fluid is present, a person can feel mild pain, experience muffled sound, or feel like that have water inside their ear. Without eliminating the sinus pressure, these symptoms can be disruptive to your everyday lifestyle. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to find relief.

Use a Humidifier

Pressure intensifies when your sinuses are dry. Using a humidifier will keep your sinuses wet throughout the day. They work to add moisture to the air regardless of the temperature. You can run them during the day, but you definitely want to run them at night to support congestion relief.

Use Steam

Another method for inducing drainage is utilizing the steam from hot water. This method has been around for decades because the heat from the steam opens passages way encouraging the fluid to drain. Simply bring water to a boil and place it in a bowl. Position your head over the bowl and drape a towel over your head. The towel will help retain as much of the steam so you can breathe it in and relieve ear pressure.

Use a Pillow

Trying to sleep when you have a blocked ear is challenging. The pressure alone is uncomfortable, but if you don't get into a good position, it can get worse. When you're getting ready for bed, arrange your pillows to prop you up slightly. Doing this will stop the fluid traveling further into your ears. If you sleep on your side, keep the blocked ear closest to the bed.

Drink Water

Water has so many amazing benefits on the body, and relieving sinus related ear pressure is one of them. Upping your water intake will flush out toxins and help fuel the body to fight off the infection. It also provides opportunities for your eustachian tubes to open more often when you swallow. This action will help shift the pressure located in your ear.

See Your Doctor

If you are experiencing prolonged pressure in the middle ear, you'll need to consult your sinus doctor. It's possible the sinus pressure is related to a viral infection. Harmful bacteria resting inside the ear can create a whole host of problems. Your doctor can discuss your symptoms with you and prescribe antibiotics if it's necessary.

Approximately 35 million people develop sinusitis each year. If you suffer from a sinus infection, we hear to help. We work with individuals to find a specific treatment plan to alleviate their pain. For more information or if you have questions about ear and sinus pain, contact OAT.

Topics: Ear Pressure, Sinus Infection