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Is it common to develop blocked ears after a cold?

Answered by: Dr. Ameet Kishore
Sr. Consultant Surgeon, ENT & Neuro-Otology
Indraprastha Apollo Hospital
New Delhi

Q. I am a 43 years old man. A month back I suffered with cold due to, which I developed a blocked nose and ears. Since then, I am feeling as if water has entered my ears but actually there is nothing in my ears. I am unable to hear with my right ear. Please advise?

A.  Blockage of the ears can sometimes occur following a cold. This happens due blockage in the ventilation tubes that connect the middle ear (behind the ear drum) to the back of nose. If during a cold the congestion that occurs in the nose spreads to the ventilation tubes, these get blocked and do not allow air to enter the ears. Initially a negative pressure occurs within the middle ears and if prolonged may result in fluid collecting behind the eardrum. If so, you would notice a reduction in hearing. If this does not resolve spontaneously, decongestant and anti-inflammatory medication in the form of nose drops may be tried in the first instance. If these do not help, you may require a minor procedure under anaesthetic (myringotomy) wherein the fluid is removed through a small puncture made in the eardrum.

A.  Blockage of the ears can sometimes occur following a cold. This happens due blockage in the ventilation tubes that connect the middle ear (behind the ear drum) to the back of nose. If during a cold the congestion that occurs in the nose spreads to the ventilation tubes, these get blocked and do not allow air to enter the ears. Initially a negative pressure occurs within the middle ears and if prolonged may result in fluid collecting behind the eardrum. If so, you would notice a reduction in hearing. If this does not resolve spontaneously, decongestant and anti-inflammatory medication in the form of nose drops may be tried in the first instance. If these do not help, you may require a minor procedure under anaesthetic (myringotomy) wherein the fluid is removed through a small puncture made in the eardrum.

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