It is best to find the underlying cause of why you may constantly feel a pressure sensation in your ear. Ear pressure usually occurs when the function of the eustachian tube in the inner ear is disrupted. Since the tube connects the nose to the middle ear, anything that affects its function can affect the air pressure balance around the eardrum, leading to experiencing pressure in your ears.

There are signs of an issue with your eustachian tube, including hearing loss and the feeling of a plugged ear. Here is everything you need to know about ear pressure.

Common Causes of Pressure in Your Ears

It’s crucial to understand the common reasons for ear pressure so you can tackle the underlying issue. The following are the most prevalent reasons for ear pressure buildup and recommended treatments.

Ear Infection

Ear pressure can rise when you have an ear infection. For instance, a swimmer’s ear caused by retained water in the ear can produce fungus or bacteria overgrowth. Although a swimmer’s ear typically affects the ear canal, it can also cause an infection in your middle ear. Pressure can build up behind the eardrum in people of all ages, although it is more common in young children. Ear infections can be treated by cleaning your ear, using antibiotics or medicated ear drops or antifungal medication.

Sinus Congestion

The fluid might leak into your ears when your sinus canals are congested. Allergic reactions, sinus and viral infections are major causes of sinus congestion like the common cold or flu. You may use the following treatments:

  • Eliminate infection with antibiotics
  • Gently inhale steam
  • Use antihistamine or decongestant medication
  • Saline nasal washes

However, understanding why you are congested is vital to clearing your sinuses. For instance, if ear pressure is caused by congestion, and a sinus infection causes the congestion, treating the sinus infection with antibiotics may be the most effective approach to clear up congestion and eliminate ear pressure.


While the human immune system is built to fight off bacteria and viruses, it can sometimes mistake harmless substances for something dangerous and cause an allergic reaction. For instance, people who are allergic to molds, pollen or pet dander may get allergic rhinitis, resulting in mucus buildup and irritation of the nasal passages. Like cold, this can also disrupt the eustachian tubes and result in pressure in your ear.

Earwax Buildup

Earwax is necessary for lubricating and cleaning the ear canal. Even though this wax protects the eardrum, a buildup can cause pressure on your eardrum. Usually, earwax moves from the ear canal to the outer ear before coming off. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

However, there are simple ways to remove earwax buildup, including putting a few drops of baby oil or mineral oil in the ear or manually removing or cleaning the wax. It is essential to have a hearing instrument specialist undertake this job to avoid pushing the wax further deep.

Foreign Objects

When a foreign object is put into the ear, it may cause a blockage. This is particularly common in young children as they usually trap food, toys, crayons and other objects around the house in their ears. It can be useful to immediately get the object removed by the hearing instrument specialist. There are a few ways to dislodge the foreign object, including water flush and suction.

Changes in Altitude

It is natural to feel that your ears need to pop when you abruptly change elevation. For instance, an abrupt pressure change can affect your hearing when a plane takes off. This is because the pressure inside your middle ear isn’t equalized with that of the outside. Altitude changes can also occur due to environmental changes in some activities like scuba diving, going in an elevator, driving up a canyon or flying a helicopter or airplane.

Health Diagnosis

A buildup of ear pressure can sometimes signify a more serious health problem. For instance, Meniere’s illness, auditory neuroma or cyst development are all possible causes of the pressure you feel in your ears. Following diagnosis, the hearing instrument specialist will recommend a tailored treatment based on your needs. This may include making some lifestyle changes. However, you may require surgery to remove any tumor or cyst growing inside your ear.

Contact Us Today

While some ear pressure is treatable, others may require special treatment from the hearing instrument specialist. You can call the Center for Better Hearing today at 510-768-7091 to learn more about the ear pressure or get your hearing tested.

Tags: faqs, hearing health tips