Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Nothing works for fullness in ears. Any suggestions?

Q. I have a feeling of fullness in my ears that won't go away. I think it has been diagnosed as something called eustachian tube dysfunction. I have been to several otolaryngologists. Nothing has worked. Suggestions? A. People with a persistent sensation of fullness in the ear should get it checked out by a physician. Occasionally, hearing loss can create such a feeling. Temporomandibular joint disorders, which affect the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull, can also create the sensation. But a diagnosis of eustachian tube dysfunction does make sense. The eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the nasal cavity, helps to equalize the air pressure on either side of the eardrum. If your eustachian tube is blocked or not working properly, there's less pressure on the inside of the eardrum than the outside, so the eardrum may cave in slightly, which causes that sensation of fullness. In serious cases, fluid accumulates behind the eardrum because pressure is so low that fluid from surrounding tissues and blood vessels gets pulled into the middle ear.
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