Guy holding his ear to relieve ear pressure

How to Relieve Ear Pressure: Natural Treatments and When to See a Doctor

  • Oct 20, 2023

Have you ever experienced that uncomfortable sensation of ear pressure, making it difficult to focus on your daily tasks? Ear pressure is a common issue affecting millions of people worldwide. Understanding the causes and learning how to relieve ear pressure can help you tackle this annoying problem. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of ear pressure, natural remedies, and over-the-counter treatments to help you find relief. Let’s take control of your ear health today!


Key Takeaways

  • Understand the causes of ear pressure, which is often related to sinus congestion and eustachian tube function.
  • Utilize natural remedies such as swallowing, yawning, chewing warm compresses and saline nasal washes to provide relief from ear pressure.
  • Consult a healthcare professional if symptoms persist or become severe. Medical treatments may be necessary for persistent issues that do not respond to home remedies or OTC treatments.


Understanding Ear Pressure

How to Relieve Ear Pressure


Ear pressure, the feeling of fullness or stuffiness within the ear, often arises from sinus congestion. But what causes this discomfort in the first place? The answer lies in the eustachian tubes and various factors such as infections, allergies, and altitude changes.


We’ll delve into the function of the eustachian tubes and what causes ear pressure in our upcoming discussion.


Eustachian Tube Function

The eustachian tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the nose, playing a crucial role in regulating air pressure in the inner ear and enabling fluids to drain to prevent barotrauma and infections. When these tubes are not functioning properly, it can lead to the formation of ear pressure.


Eustachian tube health is key to avoiding ear pressure issues, and actions as simple as swallowing, yawning, and chewing can aid in maintaining clear tubes.


Causes of Ear Pressure

Several factors can contribute to ear pressure, including:


  • Infections, such as middle ear infection (otitis media) and swimmer’s ear (otitis externa)
  • Allergies causing inflammation in the eustachian tubes
  • Altitude changes


Additionally, altitude changes can obstruct the eustachian tubes, resulting in uncomfortable pressure. Understanding these causes equips you to take effective steps towards relieving and avoiding ear pressure.


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Natural Remedies for Ear Pressure Relief

In many cases, ear pressure can be alleviated using natural remedies and at-home treatments. Simple actions like swallowing, yawning, and chewing can help relieve pressure by opening the eustachian tubes. Applying warm compresses and using saline nasal washes can also be beneficial in reducing sinus congestion and ear pressure.


We’ll further investigate these natural remedies and their potential to provide relief.


Swallowing, Yawning, and Chewing

Swallowing and yawning help open the eustachian tubes, allowing air to enter and equalize pressure in the ears. Chewing gum stimulates saliva production, aiding in the opening of the eustachian tubes as well. These techniques are especially helpful during air travel, as they can provide relief from ear pressure due to altitude changes.


Don’t forget these methods when you experience pressure related ear pain or ear pressure discomfort.


Applying Warm Compresses

Applying warm compresses to the affected ear can help reduce pain and soften earwax, providing relief from ear pressure. Place a cloth between the heat source and the skin to protect against burns.


This simple home remedy can make a significant difference in alleviating ear pressure discomfort and relieve ear congestion.


Using Saline Nasal Washes

Saline nasal washes are a safe and natural method for preserving nasal hygiene and relieving sinus congestion. A saline solution, which consists of salt and water, helps flush out mucus and allergens from the nasal passages. Using a saline mist or nasal spray can provide moisture to the sinuses and reduce nasal congestion, ultimately alleviating ear pressure.


Adding saline nasal washes to your routine can help fight against sinus irritation and ear pressure.


Understanding Sharp Ear Pain

Sharp ear pain can be caused by a multitude of factors, including infections, blockages, and inflammation, and can manifest as a sharp, dull, or throbbing sensation. The eustachian tube, a narrow tube located in the inner ear, maintains pressure equilibrium, and a blocked eustachian tube can lead to dizziness, hearing loss, or even sharp pain in the ear. It’s essential to gain an understanding of the origins of sharp ear pain to receive appropriate treatment and prevent ear pain in the future.


Over-the-Counter Treatments

A person speaking to a doctor about over-the-counter (OTC) treatments


If natural remedies don’t provide sufficient relief, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can be an effective option for addressing ear pressure and related symptoms. Decongestant nasal sprays, antihistamines, and allergy medications can help tackle ear pressure caused by allergies and sinus congestion.


We’ll delve into these OTC treatments next and their potential to provide you relief from ear pressure.


Decongestant Nasal Sprays

Decongestant nasal sprays offer relief from nasal congestion and sinus pressure, often experienced during the initial stages of a sinus infection or cold. These sprays work by reducing congestion and inflammation in the nasal passages, which can help alleviate ear pressure.


Decongestant nasal sprays can be a valuable tool in your arsenal against ear pressure issues.


Antihistamines and Allergy Medications

Antihistamines and allergy medications can be effective in addressing ear pressure caused by allergies. These medications help alleviate allergy symptoms, including:


  • sneezing
  • itching
  • runny nose
  • watery eyes


They work by blocking the effects of histamine, a compound released by the body during an allergic reaction.


Antihistamines, available with or without a prescription, offer quick relief, making them a useful solution for those grappling with allergy-induced ear pressure.


OTC Ear Drops

Over-the-counter ear drops can be used to:


  • Relieve ear pressure by softening earwax
  • Treat pain, inflammation, and infection in the ear
  • Assist with the removal of earwax
  • Provide relief from symptoms of ear infections.


If you’re struggling with persistent ear pressure, OTC ear drops may be a helpful solution.


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Identifying and Treating Common Ear Conditions

Some common ear conditions can cause ear pressure, such as middle ear infection (otitis media), swimmer’s ear (otitis externa), and fungal ear infections. Identifying and treating these conditions can help alleviate ear pressure and improve your overall ear health.


We’ll next examine these prevalent ear conditions and their corresponding treatments.


Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)

Middle ear infections (otitis media) are caused by colds or other respiratory issues that spread to the middle ear through the eustachian tube. Symptoms of middle ear infections include:


  • Ear pressure
  • Pain
  • Fluid drainage
  • Fever
  • Temporary hearing loss


Treatments for middle ear infections may involve antibiotics and pain relievers. If you suspect a middle ear infection, consult your healthcare provider for appropriate treatment.


Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)

Swimmer’s ear (otitis externa) is an infection of the ear canal caused by an overgrowth of bacteria and fungi resulting from increased moisture. Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include itching in the ear canal, redness inside the ear, and ear pain that intensifies when the ear is moved or pressed on.


Treatments for swimmer’s ear may include the use of ear drops and keeping the ear dry. To prevent swimmer’s ear, keep your ears dry and avoid swimming in polluted water.


Fungal Ear Infections

Fungal ear infections, a type of fungal infection, can result in inflammation and fluid accumulation in the ear, causing ear pressure. Signs of fungal ear infections may include itching, earache, discharge of fluid, reddening, and a burning sensation in the ear.


Treatments for fungal ear infections may include antifungal medications, such as antifungal ear drops or ointments, and in some instances, surgery. If you suspect a fungal ear infection, consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Preventing Ear Pressure During Travel and Altitude Changes

Traveling and changes in altitude can often lead to ear pressure issues due to eustachian tube blockage and air travel. To prevent discomfort during your journey, it’s essential to adopt ear-pressure-equalizing techniques and take necessary precautions for air travel.


We’ll delve into these preventative measures in the sections to come.


Ear-Pressure-Equalizing Techniques

Equalizing ear pressure during altitude changes can help prevent discomfort. Techniques such as swallowing or yawning can aid in balancing the pressure in your ears. These methods are particularly beneficial during air travel when experiencing altitude changes.


Remember these techniques to maintain comfort during your travels.


Precautions for Air Travel

Before and during air travel, take precautions to minimize ear pressure issues. Here are some tips:


  • Chewing gum and staying hydrated can help alleviate ear pressure.
  • Using earplugs can protect your ears from changes in air pressure.
  • If you’re a frequent flyer experiencing ear congestion, consider using a decongestant medication to prevent discomfort during your flight.


With these precautions in place, you can enjoy a more comfortable journey.


When to See a Doctor

While many ear pressure issues can be addressed with home remedies and over-the-counter treatments, it’s essential to know when to seek medical attention for persistent or severe ear pressure. If your ears remain congested for more than a few days, or if you experience severe symptoms or warning signs, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional.


We’ll now examine the warning signs and medical treatment options for ear pressure issues.


Warning Signs

Warning signs that indicate the need for professional medical help include:


  • a sensation of pressure in the ear
  • earache
  • vertigo
  • a sense of having a blocked ear
  • hemorrhage from the ears


If you encounter any of these warning signs, seek medical attention without delay to prevent further complications.


Medical Treatments and Procedures

For persistent or severe ear pressure issues that don’t respond to home remedies or over-the-counter treatments, medical treatments and procedures may be necessary. These treatments can include:


  • Medical procedures for severe ear congestion, such as myringotomy, tympanostomy tubes, and adenoidectomy
  • Antibiotics
  • Steroids
  • Antihistamines


Consult your healthcare provider for appropriate treatment options if you’re struggling with persistent ear pressure.



In this blog post, we have explored the causes of ear pressure, natural remedies, over-the-counter treatments, and common ear conditions that can lead to ear pressure. We also discussed preventative measures for ear pressure during travel and altitude changes, as well as when to seek medical help. By understanding the underlying causes and adopting appropriate remedies, you can take control of your ear health and enjoy a life free from ear pressure discomfort. Remember, your ears deserve the best care!


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Frequently Asked Questions


How do you relieve ear pressure fast?

To relieve ear pressure quickly, try yawning or chewing gum, inhaling and exhaling with your nostrils closed and mouth shut, sucking on candy, or using decongestants.


Why won't my ear pressure go away?

Your ear pressure won't go away because the Eustachian tube, which is a part of the middle ear, is blocked and prevents fluid from draining. This often happens when the eustachian tubes become narrowed or blocked due to a disease or condition, which can lead to a buildup of pressure in the middle ear.


What are some natural remedies for relieving ear pressure?

Swallowing, yawning, and chewing; applying warm compresses; and using saline nasal washes are all natural remedies that can help to reduce ear pressure.


How can I prevent ear pressure during air travel?

Chewing gum, maintaining hydration, and using earplugs can help prevent ear pressure during air travel.


When should I see a doctor for ear pressure issues?

If your ear pressure persists for more than a few days or if you experience severe symptoms, it's best to seek medical advice.