Plugged ears: What is the remedy?

content provided by

Plugged ears: What is the remedy?


I'm just getting over a bad cold, and my ears have been plugged for more than a week. What causes this? Is there any remedy for plugged ears?



With plugged ears, your eustachian tubes — which run between your middle ear and the back of your nose — become obstructed. You may also have ear pain. You can try to forcibly open your eustachian tubes by taking a deep breath and trying to blow out while pinching your nostrils closed and closing your mouth. If you feel a popping noise, you know you have succeeded.

When treatment is needed, doctors focus on getting air to flow into the eustachian tubes. Options for clearing plugged ears include:

  • Oral decongestants
  • Nasal spray antihistamines
  • Topical nasal steroids
  • Ventilation tubes, in severe cases, to drain fluid and relieve pressure

If your symptoms are severe and last longer than a few weeks, consider seeking care from an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Last Updated: 2012-01-19
© 1998-2016 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use


Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version