Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Can High Altitude Cause Ear Infections

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Can An Ear Infection Spread To Your Jaw

Ear Pain- Strange & Bizarre Causes

Inflammation: Inflammation from the ear can spread to that area making it feel like the infection has spread to your jaw. You should have yourself checked for possible treatment. Your earache can : actually have been referred pain from your throat, the joint of your jaw or a decayed or infected tooth, as those areas share nerves with the eardrum.

What Are Other Causes Of Ear Pain

Other causes of ear pain include:

  • A sore throat.
  • Teeth coming in in a baby.
  • An infection of the lining of the ear canal. This is also called swimmers ear.
  • Pressure build up in the middle ear caused by allergies and colds.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/16/2020.


Complications Of Swimmer’s Ear

  • Chronic otitis externa – infection persists, or else keeps recurring.
  • Narrowing of the ear canal – repeated infections can cause the ear canal to be narrowed by scar tissue. The risk of swimmer’s ear is increased if water can’t drain out properly. Narrow ear canals may also affect hearing.
  • Facial infection – the infection may escape the ear canal, down small holes in the surrounding cartilage, and lead to painful facial swelling.
  • Malignant otitis externa – the infection may spread to the bones and cartilage of the skull.

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Don’t Risk A Ruptured Eardrum

If you are very sick with a cold, the flu, allergies or congestion, you could consider changing your travel plans if possible. Your fellow travelers will appreciate one less sick person spreading germs around the planes cabin, and your illness can cause a blockage in the Eustachian tube, preventing the necessary equalization of pressure. A ruptured eardrum or severe infection can occur which can cause hearing loss or permanent ear damage.

See a hearing healthcare professional if your hearing doesnt return to normal within several days post-flight. If you don’t have a regular hearing healthcare professional, check out our directory to find hearing clinics near you.

More: Wear hearing aids? Check out our air travel tips for people with hearing loss.

What Are The Treatment Options

Why does my ear feel clogged? Home remedies for wax and more

The simplest way to help clear your earsparticularly when flyingis to swallow. Yawning, chewing gum, or sucking on hard candy can help, especially just before take-off and during descent. You can also try pinching your nose, taking a mouthful of air, blowing gently against your pinched nose, then swallowing. Youll know if it worked when you hear a pop, and your ears feel less plugged.

Babies and children are especially vulnerable to ear blockage because their eustachian tubes are narrower than in adults. Plus, babies cannot intentionally pop their ears, but sucking on a bottle or pacifier can help. You and your children should avoid sleeping during descent because swallowing may not occur often enough to keep up with changes in air pressure.

If you have allergies, take your medications at the beginning of your flight. Over-the-counter nasal sprays or decongestants can also help air travelers to shrink the membranes and help the ears pop more easily. However, if you are pregnant, or have heart disease, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, thyroid disease, or excessive nervousness, consult your physician before using these medications. Extended use of decongestant nasal sprays can also cause more congestion than relief, and even result in a type of addiction.

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Suffering From A Clogged Ear Listen Up Because These 15 Simple Treatments Can Help Relieve You Of That Annoying Blocked Ear Feeling

While there can be multiple factors behind a clogged ear, the most common cause lies in your sinuses.

Do sounds become muffled when youve got a cold? Does your ear feel blocked after a long swim? Sounds like youre suffering from clogged ear, an annoying condition that can make hearing a challenge. While a clogged ear can indicate an ear infection, it could also be a sign of wax build-up, a change in air pressure, or a sinus infection. Once you discover whats causing your clogged ear, it will be easier to treat and likely prevent it from happening again in the future.

Causes Of Swimmer’s Ear

  • Water – dirty water can deliver bacteria to the ear canal. A wet ear canal is also prone to dermatitis. Tiny cracks or splits in the skin can allow bacteria to enter.
  • Mechanical damage – attempts to clean the ears using fingernails, cotton buds or other objects may cut the delicate tissues of the ear canal and lead to infection.
  • Chemical irritation – hairsprays, shampoos and hair dyes may get into the ear canal and irritate the tissues.
  • Middle ear infection – an infection within the middle ear can trigger an infection or inflammation in the ear canal.
  • Diabetes – this condition can make earwax too alkaline, which creates a more hospitable environment for infectious agents.
  • Folliculitis – an infected hair follicle within the ear canal can trigger a generalised infection.
  • Narrow ear canals – some people’s ear canals are narrower than usual. This means that water can’t drain as effectively.

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Ear Pressure Causes And Treatments

Keith Alexander, MD is board-certified in Otolaryngology. He provides services in adult and pediatric ear, nose and throat disorders, and treats allergy and sinus patients of all ages. He specializes in functional and cosmetic nasal surgery, including rhinoplasty. Dr. Alexander can be reached at 278-1114.

Lexington Clinic is Central Kentuckys largest and oldest medical group. With 180+ providers in more than 30 specialties, we have been taking care of 600,000+ visits annually in the Lexington community since 1920.

1221 South Broadway

Understanding The Pressure Sensation In The Ear

Ear infection pain relief | How do I treat an earache at home?

Many individuals have experienced ear pressure at some point. It can best be described as feeling like you’ve been in an airplane and your ears just won’t pop. There isn’t necessarily pain associated with the pressure. Instead, it is often considered bothersome.

Its important to understand that the ear itself isn’t always the cause of the pressure. The most common cause of ear pressure comes from an upper respiratory infection or sinus infection. In those situations, patients feel pressure pulling off the ear drum, with or without fluid.

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Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Barotrauma

When you are affected by ear barotrauma, and the pressures are not equal, you may experience the feeling of pressure within your ear. Less severe cases of barotrauma may result in the following symptoms:

  • Loss of balance or dizziness .
  • Discomfort or slight ear pain.
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure within the ear.
  • Temporary, minor loss of hearing.

With extreme altitude changes , or when diving underwater, barotrauma may become more severe causing you to potentially experience the following symptoms:

  • Eardrum damage.
  • Feeling of extreme pressure and pain within the ears.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Severe loss of hearing.

Ear barotrauma will usually go away on its own. However, if you experience severe, or unbearable pain during altitude changes or diving, you should visit your ENT specialist. They will likely examine the inside of your ear using an otoscope to determine if there is an underlying condition or if there is damage to your eardrum.

Can High Altitude Make Your Teeth Hurt

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Flying can cause toothaches because your body experiences a pressure change with an increase in altitude, a condition known as aerodontalgia. You may notice a pain in your ears or get a headache for the same reason. You may also experience toothaches on a plane because of sinus pressure.

Additionally, why do my teeth hurt after skydiving? Barodontalgia is described as acute toothache with high to extremely high sensitivity, which occurs due to a sudden change in environmental pressure. Broadly speaking the main condition for barodontalgia is the change in environmental pressure. Remarkably barodontalgia is always triggered by some pathological cause.

Also to know, can Flying affect your teeth?

Unfortunately, yes, flying can give you a toothache. Once the plane leaves the tarmac and starts to climb, your teeth become sensitive and you can develop a growing pain. If you had oral problems prior to the flight, they may become worse in-flight, but you may also notice some tooth pain for the first time.

Why do cavities hurt so much?

The acids in plaque damage the enamel covering your teeth. It also creates holes in the tooth called cavities. Cavities usually do not hurt, unless they grow very large and affect nerves or cause a tooth fracture. Untreated tooth decay also destroys the inside of the tooth .

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What Can You Do To Make It A More Comfortable Trip For Your Child

First, be prepared. Babies cannot intentionally pop their ears like adults can, but we can help them by encouraging them to swallow. Offer your baby a pacifier or bottle while making ascents and descents. If possible, it may be helpful to have an adult ride in the back seat with baby if youre in the car to ensure this can happen. Dont let your baby sleep during descent on a plane. Help your little traveler out by offering him or her a pacifier during this process, as descent is the most likely time for pain associated with altitude changes.

If your baby is congested prior to travel involving altitude changes, seek the advice of your pediatrician since they may have other solutions, including medications such as decongestants. If you return from a trip and notice your infant is still fussy and uncomfortable, contact your childs doctor for a thorough ear evaluation. Safe travels!

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When Should I Call The Doctor About An Ear Infection

Why does my ear feel clogged? Home remedies for wax and more
  • You or your child develops a stiff neck.
  • Your child acts sluggish, looks or acts very sick, or does not stop crying despite all efforts.
  • Your childs walk is not steady he or she is physically very weak.
  • You or your childs ear pain is severe.
  • You or your child has a fever over 104° F .
  • Your child is showing signs of weakness in their face .
  • You see bloody or pus-filled fluid draining from the ear.
  • The fever remains or comes back more than 48 hours after starting an antibiotic.
  • Ear pain is not better after three days of taking an antibiotic.
  • Ear pain is severe.
  • You have any questions or concerns.

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How Does Flying Affect Ears

Many of us have felt that weird ear-popping sensation when we fly. For kids , it can feel especially odd and even be scary at first. But it’s a common, normal part of flying.

This sometimes uncomfortable sensation is related to pressure changes in the air space behind the eardrum . Normally, the Eustachian tube, a passageway that leads from the middle ear to the back of the throat behind the nose, equalizes the air pressure in the middle ear to the outside air pressure by opening and letting air reach the middle ear. When our ears “pop” while yawning or swallowing, the Eustachian tubes are adjusting the air pressure in the middle ears.

In kids, however, the relatively narrow Eustachian tubes might not do this as well, especially if they’re clogged with mucus from an ear infection or cold, or blocked by enlarged or swollen adenoids.

Whether you’re flying, scuba diving, climbing a mountain, or even riding in an elevator, air pressure decreases as you go higher and increases as you go lower. If the pressure isn’t equalized, the higher air pressure pushes on one side of the eardrum and causes pain. That’s why so many babies cry during those last few minutes of the flight, as the air pressure in the cabin increases as the plane prepares to land.

But the pain is only temporary it won’t cause any lasting problems for kids and usually will ease within a few minutes as the Eustachian tubes open to let the air pressure equalize on both sides of the eardrums.

Blocked Ears And Eustachian Tubes

The Eustachian tube can become blocked, or obstructed, for a variety of reasons. When that occurs, the middle ear pressure cannot be equalized. The air already there is absorbed and a vacuum occurs, sucking the eardrum inward and causing it to stretch. A stretched eardrum can be painful and cannot vibrate naturally, so sounds are muffled or blocked. If the Eustachian tube remains blocked, fluid will seep into the area from the membranes, in an attempt to correct the vacuum. This condition is referred to as fluid in the ear, serous otitis or aero-otitis.

Serous Otitis:Aero-otitis:

The most common cause for a blocked Eustachian tube is the common cold. Sinus infections and nasal allergies are also common causes. A stuffy nose leads to blocked ears because the swollen membranes block the opening of the Eustachian tube. Blocked ears can also be caused by fluid in the ear from swimming, excessive buildup of earwax, or punctured ear drums caused by foreign objects.

Air travel causes rapid changes in air pressure, changing the equilibrium in the middle ear. To help correct the pressure differences, the Eustachian tube must open frequently and wide enough to equalize the pressure. This is especially true when the airplane is landing, going from low atmospheric pressure down closer to earth where the air pressure is higher.

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Why Does My Face Tingle When I Have An Ear Infection

The main nerve to the face, the facial nerve, is so close to the ear that swelling at your ear can cause a tingle, even sharp pain in your face. As your ear infection subsides, so should your facial tingling and numbness. TMJ is indeed awful. If it is because of arthritis, a rheumatologist can help you.

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Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing


Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.

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What Causes Barotrauma

The eustachian tube is a membrane-lined tube about the width of a pencil lead that connects the back of the nose with the middle ear and helps maintain balanced air pressure on both sides of the eardrum. The most common cause of eustachian tube blockage is the common cold, but sinus infections and nasal allergies are also usual suspects. A stuffy nose leads to stuffy ears because the swollen membranes in the nose can extend into the eustachian tube and block it. Also, any situation in which rapid altitude or pressure changes occur, such as air travel, riding in an elevator, diving to the bottom of a swimming pool, or scuba diving, can affect proper function of the eustachian tube.

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What Is Ear Barotrauma

Ear barotrauma is a condition that causes ear discomfort due to pressure changes.

In each ear there is a tube that connects the middle of your ear to your throat and nose. It also helps regulate ear pressure. This tube is called the eustachian tube. When the tube is blocked, you may experience ear barotrauma.

Occasional ear barotrauma is common, especially in environments where the altitude changes. While the condition isnt harmful in some people, frequent cases may cause further complications. Its important to understand the differences between acute and chronic cases so you know when to seek medical treatment.

  • moderate to severe hearing loss or difficulty
  • ear drum injury

Once treated, almost all symptoms will go away. Hearing loss from ear barotrauma is almost always temporary and reversible.

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Can A Middle Ear Infection Cause A Fever

Middle ear infections are common in kids and tend to cause trouble hearing, fevers, and pain without much outward signs such as ear drainage or swelling. Otitis externa: This infection affects the ear canal, and is commonly known as swimmers ear because water exposure is a risk factor for it.

In adults, the NIH states that the pain is more likely caused by one of a variety of issues, including: Ear injury from pressure changes Symptoms of an earache can include pain, fever, ear drainage, nausea, and vomiting, according to the NIH.

Why Do Children Get Many More Ear Infections Than Adults Will My Child Always Get Ear Infections

9 Top Home Remedies For Ear Congestion

Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections for these reasons:

  • The eustachian tubes in young children are shorter and more horizontal. This shape encourages fluid to gather behind the eardrum.
  • The immune system of children, which in the bodys infection-fighting system, is still developing.
  • The adenoids in children are relatively larger than they are in adults. The adenoids are the small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. As they swell to fight infection, they may block the normal ear drainage from the eustachian tube into the throat. This blockage of fluid can lead to a middle ear infection.

Most children stop getting ear infections by age 8.

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How Is An Ear Infection Treated

Treatment of ear infections depends on age, severity of the infection, the nature of the infection and if fluid remains in the middle ear for a long period of time.

Your healthcare provider will recommend medications to relieve you or your childs pain and fever. If the ear infection is mild, depending on the age of the child, your healthcare provider may choose to wait a few days to see if the infection goes away on its own before prescribing an antibiotic.


Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacteria are thought to be the cause of the ear infection. Your healthcare provider may want to wait up to three days before prescribing antibiotics to see if a mild infection clears up on its own when the child is older. If your or your childs ear infection is severe, antibiotics might be started right away.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended when to prescribe antibiotics and when to consider waiting before prescribing based on your childs age, severity of their infection, and your childs temperature. Their recommendations are shown in the table below.

American Academy of Pediatrics Treatment Guide for Acute Otitis Media

Childs Age
in one or both ears Mild for < 48 hours and temp < 102.2° F Treat with antibiotic OR observe. If observe, start antibiotics if child worsens or doesnt improve within 48 to 72 hours of start of symptoms

Pain-relieving medications

Ear tubes

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