Can Allergies Cause Clogged Ears? Diagnosis and Treatment

Wyndly Care Team
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How do you get rid of ear fullness from allergies?

Ear fullness from allergies can be alleviated by taking antihistamines or decongestants, using nasal sprays, and avoiding allergy triggers. Additionally, regular sinus rinses can help clear congestion. In persistent cases, consult an allergist for specialized treatments like immunotherapy.

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What Causes Clogged Ears?

Clogged ears arise from various conditions affecting the ear's structure or functions. These include allergies, infections, blockages from foreign bodies or earwax, changes in air pressure, and sinusitis.


Allergies can lead to clogged ears, as they cause inflammation and swelling in the eustachian tubes, leading to a feeling of fullness or congestion in the ears. Allergies can cause ear pain, infections, and fluid buildup, worsening the sensation of a clogged ear.


Ear infections can also cause ears to feel clogged. These infections often result from bacteria or viruses, which inflame and irritate the ear's delicate tissues. Allergies can cause ear infections, further increasing the risk of clogged ears among individuals with allergies.


Blockages in the ear, such as a buildup of earwax or a foreign object lodged in the ear, can lead to a sensation of clogged ears. This blockage prevents the free flow of sound and air in the ear canal, leading to discomfort and hearing impairment.

Changes in Air Pressure

Changes in air pressure, such as during a flight or when diving underwater, can cause a feeling of clogged or blocked ears. This is due to the imbalance in air pressure between the middle ear and the environment, known as barotrauma.


Sinusitis, or inflammation of the sinuses, can cause clogged ears. This is because the ears, nose, and throat are all interconnected, and inflammation in one area can affect the others. Allergies can lead to congestion, which can exacerbate sinusitis and the associated ear clogging.

How Do Allergies Impact Your Ears?

Allergies can adversely impact your ears by triggering allergic reactions that lead to inflammation and swelling. This can cause discomfort, including a feeling of fullness, pain, and even infections in the ears.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions in the ears occur when your immune system overreacts to an allergen. This triggers inflammation, leading to symptoms like itching, pain, and a feeling of fullness in the ears. In severe cases, allergies can lead to ear drainage, which can further exacerbate the sensation of clogged ears. The link between allergies and ear pain is well-established, with inflammation often causing discomfort and a sensation of fullness in the ear.

Ear Infections

Allergies can also increase your susceptibility to ear infections. The inflammation and fluid buildup caused by allergies can create an ideal environment for bacteria and viruses, leading to infections. These infections can result in symptoms like pain, fever, and hearing loss. Allergies can indeed cause ear pain, and in some cases, may even lead to severe conditions like vertigo. Understanding the connection between allergies and ear infections can help in managing the symptoms effectively.

What Are the Symptoms of Clogged Ears?

Clogged ears, often a result of allergies, manifest as a sensation of fullness or stuffiness in the ears. This can be accompanied by other symptoms like discomfort, hearing loss, and sometimes even severe conditions like vertigo.

The initial sign of clogged ears is often a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear. This can be accompanied by slight discomfort or a dull ache. The sensation can also extend to the throat, causing an itchy throat and ears. This is often due to the inflammation and swelling caused by allergic reactions.

Other symptoms can include muffled hearing or a temporary hearing loss. This occurs when the inflammation and fluid buildup caused by allergies obstruct the Eustachian tubes, leading to a feeling of fullness and hearing impairment. The pain in the ear caused by this inflammation can range from mild to severe.

In severe cases, allergies can even lead to vertigo or severe dizziness. This occurs when the inflammation and fluid buildup disrupt the inner ear's functioning, which plays a crucial role in maintaining balance. Understanding the connection between allergies and vertigo can help manage the symptoms effectively.

How to Diagnose Clogged Ears?

Diagnosing clogged ears primarily involves a thorough medical examination and an assessment of patient's symptoms and medical history. Healthcare providers may use a combination of physical examinations, hearing tests, and in some cases, imaging tests to determine the cause of the clogged ears.

A physical examination typically involves using an otoscope, a special instrument to examine the ear canal and eardrum. This allows the healthcare provider to check for any signs of inflammation, fluid buildup, or blockages that may be causing the feeling of clogged ears.

In some cases, a hearing test or audiogram may be conducted. This test measures the patient's ability to hear sounds at different frequencies and volumes. A reduced ability to hear certain sounds may indicate a blockage or fluid buildup in the ear.

In certain situations, imaging tests like a CT scan or MRI might be needed. These tests provide detailed images of the structures within the ear, helping to identify any abnormalities or blockages. If the clogged ears are suspected to be a symptom of allergies, further tests may be conducted to determine the specific allergens triggering the condition. Understanding how allergies can lead to a stuffy nose can provide further insight into how allergies can affect the ears.

What Are the Treatments for Clogged Ears?

Treatment for clogged ears depends on the underlying cause. Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies, prescription medications, and certain therapies like sublingual immunotherapy can help. The goal is to reduce inflammation, drain fluid buildup, and alleviate discomfort.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

For minor ear clogs, OTC treatments can be effective. These include decongestants and antihistamines, which can help reduce swelling and fluid buildup. Ear drops containing carbamide peroxide can help soften earwax, making it easier to remove. It's crucial to use these medications as directed to prevent any potential damage to the ears.

Prescription Medications

If OTC treatments aren't sufficient, your healthcare provider may prescribe stronger medications. These could include prescription-strength decongestants, antihistamines, or steroid nasal sprays. For ear infections causing clogs, antibiotics might be necessary. Always follow the provider's instructions when using these medications.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

For clogged ears due to allergies, sublingual immunotherapy may be an option. This treatment involves placing allergen extracts under the tongue to help the immune system build tolerance. The aim is to reduce the severity of allergic reactions over time, which can help prevent future instances of clogged ears caused by allergies.

How Can One Prevent Clogged Ears?

Preventing clogged ears involves addressing the underlying causes. This may include managing allergies, avoiding rapid changes in altitude, and maintaining ear hygiene. While it's not always possible to prevent clogged ears, certain practices can reduce the risk.

Regular ear cleaning is essential to prevent buildup of wax that can lead to clogs. However, avoid using cotton swabs deep in the ear as this can impact wax against the eardrum. Consider using OTC ear drops to soften wax.

If you're prone to allergies, managing them effectively can help prevent clogged ears. This could include avoiding allergen exposure, taking antihistamines, or undergoing immunotherapy. Lastly, yawning, swallowing, or chewing gum can help equalize pressure in your ears, especially during flights or altitude changes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What allergy medicine is best for clogged ears?

Over-the-counter antihistamines like Zyrtec, Claritin, or Benadryl can help alleviate allergic reactions causing clogged ears. Decongestants such as Sudafed may also be effective. For persistent issues, a doctor may recommend steroid nasal sprays or prescription medication to reduce inflammation and congestion.

How do you fix a clogged ear from allergies?

A clogged ear from allergies can be relieved through various methods. Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can alleviate congestion. Nasal sprays may also help. If symptoms persist, a healthcare provider may suggest allergy shots (immunotherapy) or prescribe stronger medication for relief.

How do you unclog your ears during allergy season?

Unclogging ears during allergy season can be achieved through several methods. Over-the-counter decongestants can help reduce swelling in the Eustachian tubes. Using a warm compress or taking a hot shower can also alleviate congestion. Finally, chewing gum or yawning can help pop your ears. Always consult a doctor if symptoms persist.

Can blocked ears be caused by allergies?

Yes, blocked ears can be caused by allergies. Allergens can trigger a reaction in your body leading to inflammation and swelling in your nose and throat, which can indirectly affect your Eustachian tubes — the tubes that link the middle of your ears to your throat — causing blockage.

What will an ENT do for clogged ears?

An Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist can treat clogged ears in several ways. They might prescribe oral or nasal medications to reduce inflammation, suggest ear drops to clear blockages, perform professional earwax removal, or in severe cases, recommend surgical procedures.

What is the best antihistamine for clogged ears?

The best antihistamine for clogged ears can vary based on individual responses, but generally, over-the-counter options like Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Fexofenadine (Allegra), or Loratadine (Claritin) can effectively reduce congestion. However, for persistent symptoms, a doctor's consultation is highly recommended.

What medicine helps unclog ears?

Over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines can help unclog ears caused by colds or allergies. Nasal steroid sprays may also be effective. For more severe cases, a doctor might prescribe stronger medications or suggest procedures like ear tube surgery or a myringotomy to relieve the pressure.

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