Does It Mean I Have an Ear Infection If My Ear Is Clogged?

January 23, 2024

If My Ear Is Clogged, Do I Have an Ear Infection?

Even though a clogged ear doesn’t usually cause pain, feeling a blockage or the frequent urge to pop your ears can be quite a nuisance. So, what actually causes the feeling of a clogged ear, and is it related to an ear infection?

Our team at AFC Urgent Care Farragut is here to help you get to the bottom of your clogged ear, ear infection, or ear pain.

Why Is My Ear Clogged?

You might wonder why your ear feels blocked. A common reason for this sensation is an obstruction in the Eustachian tube. So, what exactly is this tube?

The Eustachian tube is a canal that connects your middle ear to your throat area. Normally, it allows the passage of fluids and mucus from your ear into your throat, where it’s naturally swallowed. However, there are occasions when these fluids and mucus get stuck in the middle ear, leading to a blockage. This not only causes the feeling of a clogged ear but can also increase the risk of developing an ear infection.

Other Causes of Ear Clogging

  • Elevation Changes—The function of the Eustachian tube is to maintain balance in ear pressure. However, at elevated heights, it may not be able to adjust pressure adequately, leading to a sensation of fullness in the ears.
  • Earwax Accumulation—Earwax is typically pliable, yet it has the potential to solidify and obstruct the ear canal.
  • Benign Vestibular Schwannoma (Acoustic Neuroma)—This noncancerous growth forms on the nerve that connects the inner ear with the brain. Often growing slowly and starting off small, these schwannomas can expand, exerting pressure on the inner ear nerves and resulting in an obstructed sensation in the ear.

What Is an Ear Infection?

An ear infection, also known as acute otitis media, refers to a bacterial or viral infection affecting the middle ear — the section of your ear behind the eardrum that houses the delicate bones responsible for hearing.

Ear infections differ from the standard blockage of the ear, as they often cause discomfort and can lead to further medical issues if not addressed promptly. Below, we detail the typical indicators of an ear infection in adults.

Common Ear Infection Symptoms Among Adults

  • Ear pain
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Trouble hearing
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Nausea

Common ear infection symptoms among adults can vary, but typically include pain or discomfort in the ear, difficulty hearing, and fluid drainage from the ear. In some cases, adults may also experience a fever, nausea, or dizziness. Adults with ear infections may also notice a feeling of fullness or pressure in the affected ear. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, as untreated ear infections can lead to more serious complications.

If you are tired of your ear being clogged or believe you have an ear infection, our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team can help! Visit or call us today.

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