What causes an ear blockage?
Ear blockages can be due to conditions of the outer, middle or inner ears and can occur for many reasons including the following:
- Obstructions in the external canal can be caused by impacted wax or swelling of the skin lining due to infection (otitis externa).
- Middle ear infections (otitis media) with fluid (effusion) cause blockage and hearing loss.
- Eustachian tube blockage (dysfunction) commonly occurs with an upper respiratory tract infection or sudden changes of the environmental pressure, such as landing in an aeroplane or scuba diving.
- Stress related jaw spasms (Temporomandibular joint -TMJ dysfunction) can also result in tension of the Eustachian Tube muscles.
- Conditions with an increase in the inner ear fluid pressure, such as Meniere’s disease and acoustic neuroma, cause ear blockage which may resemble the features of Eustachian tube dysfunction.
Sometimes, patients complain of ear blockage when they actually mean that they cannot hear properly.
What investigations are needed to diagnose the cause of an ear blockage?
Because of the wide spectrum of possible causes an extensive range of audiological investigations may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Thorough clinical examination can often, but not always, identify the problem. Basic audiological tests, such as Pure tone audiometry, Tympanometry and Stapedial reflexes, can usually indicate the source of the symptom. However, more detailed audiological investigations, such as Eustachian tube function testing, Otoacoustic emissions or Electrocochleography may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Key Point: Early inner ear endolymphatic hydrops, which is analogous to “glaucoma” of the inner ear, is often misdiagnosed as Eustachian tube dysfunction, a common self-limiting condition which usually recovers quickly with or without medical treatment.
Ear blockage treatments at The Harley Street ENT Clinic
Ear blockage treatments are one of the many specialist services we offer patients at The Harley Street ENT clinic in Central London. We provide all the care that you need for your ear blockage problems and ensure that you can get all of the right tests, treatments and advice in one convenient place.
Our experienced team of ENT specialists can diagnose and treat all kinds of ear problems as well as balance and recurring ear infections. From your initial consultation to your final treatment, our ENT surgeons will be there to provide advice, answer your questions, and help you to feel better.
How much do treatments cost?
With such a wide range of treatments available, our specialist team will discuss this in your consultation so get in touch and book an appointment.