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It can be an extremely unpleasant sensation to constantly have an increased amount of pressure in the ears. The way our ear anatomy is structured means that an equal amount of pressure outside and inside the Eustachian tube is essential for the optimal functioning of the ears.

This tube connects the middle ear to the back of the nose and throat. We will take a brief look at some of the causes that change this delicate equilibrium and result in an increased amount of pressure in the ears.

Change In Altitude

Activities such as scuba diving, hiking at high altitudes, mountain climbing or traveling by an airplane all subject the body to a drastic change in pressure. These changes can result in an unequal amount of pressure being subjected at the two ends of the tube.

In most cases the Eustachian tube will equalize the pressure after a brief adjustment period, however, in some cases, an extended period of discomfort can occur.

Ear Infection

An infection in the middle ear, nose, sinuses or the throat can cause a hindrance to the normal functioning of the Eustachian tube, leading to increased pressure in the ear. Middle ear infection results in the accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. This can be a painful situation and can result in dizziness, a fullness of the ear, pain on sudden movement of the head and even hearing loss.

Infection of the respiratory tract usually means that a larger amount of mucus than can be cleared from the Eustachian tube is being produced. Once this mucus is accumulated in the ear, air can no longer pass through the tube and help equalize the pressure.

Such a condition is also called "glue ear", where the ear seems to have snapped shut and the hearing becomes muffled. "Glue ear" can last for several hours to several days.

Anatomical Abnormality

There is some normal individual variation in the structure of the middle ear, however, if the size of the Eustachian tube is exceedingly small, then it will keep on getting blocked. If a structural abnormality is detected, then a permanent solution usually requires the use of reconstructive surgery.


Respiratory allergies are among the most commonly found in the world. Pollen or dust allergies, for example, are very frequently found in developed nations. One of the symptoms associated with these allergies can be an increased amount of pressure in the ear.

The allergies can cause an increased amount of fluid or mucus production within the membranes lining the sinuses, inner ear, nose and throat, causing a blockage. The membranes can also swell up, become inflamed and painful causing the pressure in the ears to build up.


An injury to the eardrum can result in permanent damage to the ear. The vibrations that are converted into sound by the brain will no longer be discernible to the body if the damage to the eardrum is extensive. The ears will feel painfully blocked and there may be bleeding, dizziness, and even fainting. This requires immediate medical attention and prompt action to minimize the damage.

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