A blocked nose can make life miserable. Added to a plugged nose, hearing loss can make the problem worse. But why does it happen that whenever there is an episode of a stuffy nose, your hearing also gets affected? Have you given thought about that? Read this blog to know the relation between the blocked nose and hearing loss.
Why is there hearing loss due to sinusitis?
Sinusitis is defined as the swelling, inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. Para-nasal sinuses are the spaces that are located in the bones, near the nose and between the eyes. Due to the inflammation, the sinuses produce more mucus than normal that can block the nasal passages. The excessive mucus accumulated can prevent the sinuses from draining properly. Now this accumulated mucus can get infected due to the following factors-
- Inhaling irritants such as pollen, dust or smoke
- Common cold
The sinuses are hollow spaces that are located very near to the ear canal. Hence, due to sinusitis, the ear can also become congested. The Eustachian tube that runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat can also become inflamed due to the sinuses. The tube controls the pressure inside the ear so due to inflammation, it cannot function properly. Therefore, there is excessive pressure buildup inside the ear that results in pain and hearing loss.
ENT experts explain that it is better to treat this condition soon as it can cause other symptoms such as ringing inside the ears, sense of loss of balance, bleeding or perforation of the eardrum. Fortunately, this is a treatable condition which means once the sinusitis is cleared up, the mucus can be drained and the tube can release out excess pressure.
Other causes of ear congestion
In case you are wondering if there are any reasons due to which there can be a feeling of fullness inside the ears, yes there are. Apart from sinusitis, here are reasons that can make you feel that the ears are blocked-
- Excessive fluid buildup
- Excessive buildup of earwax
- Rapid changes in air pressure during travel
- A blockage inside the ear due to any foreign object
- Infections in the middle and external ear
- Cholesteatoma in which there is abnormal growth inside the middle ear
- Meniere’s disease which is an inner ear disorder
- An acoustic neuroma in which there is noncancerous tumour growth
- Fungal infection in the external ear
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
What to do to treat hearing loss due to blocked nose?
Depending on the underlying cause of the congestion inside the ear, there are simple remedies you can try. For sinus-related ear congestion and hearing loss, try the following tips to alleviate some pressure.
- Blow the nose gently- When you blow the nose, remember to be gentle so that it opens the sinus passages and offer quick relief. For more effective results, block one of the nostrils with the thumb and then blow the nose. Alternatively, repeat this procedure with the other nostril. Patients get relief from the sinus pressure inside the ears. However, remember not to blow too hard and make it worse.
- Irrigate the nose and sinuses- Irrigating the nasal passages with a saltwater solution can remove any debris in the nasal airways. Pour the solution from one nostril and drain it out from the other. In this way, the solution cleanses the mucus, dirt as well as allergens reducing the pressure.
- Inhale steam- Taking a hot shower releases steam from the body. Another way of inhaling steam is placing the head over a bowl of warm water to unclog the sinuses. This helps to reduce the sinus pressure and the person is able to breathe freely. The steam can also moisten the throat linings. For extra relief, you can also add a few drops of essential oils.
- Keep yourself hydrated- If the ear feels blocked when you have an episode of sinusitis, doctors recommend increasing fluid intake. The fluids help to drain mucus from the sinuses and prevent any infection. Other than water, one can also drink other fluids for hydration such as broths, ice cubes, tea or water-based vegetables and fruits.
- Apply moist washcloth- The warmth of the towel helps to reduce inflammation and thin out the dry mucus from the sinuses. When the inflammation of the sinuses subsides, the headache and pressure on the face also reduce.
- Sleep with the head elevated- There can be pressure build-up due to the sleeping position. When a person lies flat, there are higher chances of mucus buildup thereby, increasing pressure in the sinuses. In order to reduce the pressure, you should sleep with the head alleviated. Before going to bed, put some extra pillows under the head to prevent the buildup.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication- Excessive pain in the ear can be due to pressure build-up in the sinuses and the ears. Take medicines such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen or Acetaminophen for temporary relief.
- Apply some heat- Sometimes applying a heating pad around the ear can help in getting relief from inflammation and ear pain. Keep the heating pad at a mild strength for 20 minutes to get the best results.
- Rest properly for at least 8-9 hours- While asleep, you might be surprised that the body prepares itself to fight off any infection. the body releases hormones that promote tissue regeneration. Also, it produces more white blood cells required to fight off infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. Faster the infection cures, the faster the pressure alleviates.
- Consume vitamin C or its supplements- Vitamin C boosts up the immunity hence, the sinus pressure soothes out faster. These include some of the common Vitamin C rich foods such as Guavas, Tomatoes, Strawberries, Kiwi, Red pepper, Broccoli, etc.
- Avoid bending and fast movements- When you bend forward suddenly with the head down, it can lead to more pressure buildup. Also, when you do such fast movements like standing up quickly or shaking the head, it can make you feel dizzy. Thus, avoid bending and fast movements to get some relief from excessive pressure in the sinuses and ears.
The sinuses and ear are connected which means an infection or inflammation of the sinuses can affect the ears. Sinus-related hearing loss can be prevented if the patient chooses to treat the infection before it spreads to the ears. Consider a permanent solution for sinusitis such as functional endoscopic sinus surgery or septoplasty. Get in touch with an ENT doctor to know more.