A sinus infection can cause clogged ears, ear pain and temporary hearing loss. A sinus infection is when your nasal cavities become swollen or inflamed, either due to an infection or as an allergic reaction. Ear pressure is a common symptom related to sinus infections. By relieving your sinus infection you can reduce ear pressure, pain and temporary hearing loss associated with the condition.
Clogged ear: The sinus-ear connection
A sinus infection primarily affects your nose, but symptoms can extend to the ears as well. The sinus-ear connection stems from the fact that your sinuses and ears are connected; therefore, clogged and congested sinuses also affect the ears.
There are many ways you can help improve your sinus infection and obtain relief in your ears. Below are some tips that can help decongest your sinuses.
- Use a nasal saline or apply a warm moist washcloth to your nose to add moisture. Humidifiers are also useful to help add moisture to the air and not dry out your nose.
- Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve ear pain.
- Over-the-counter decongestants can help clear out sinus cavities.
- Avoid extreme temperatures; hot or cold weather can worsen sinuses.
- Keep your head up; putting it down applies added pressure.
Sinus-related ear problems can also lead to dizziness. If you experience dizziness due to sinuses, you may want to avoid fast movements as it can increase dizziness. It’s also important to drink plenty of water to thin mucus and avoid caffeine, salt, alcohol and tobacco, which alter blood flow and can worsen dizziness.
Sinus infections and other health effects
Aside from ear pain and dizziness, a sinus infection can also cause temporary hearing loss. Sinus-related hearing loss occurs when the infection spreads to the ears, specifically the middle ear. Hearing can become affected if inflammation puts pressure on the ear drum. This inflammation can cause discharge of fluid and the build-up of fluid in the eardrum, which leads to pain and temporary hearing loss.
When the fluid and pressure are relieved the hearing loss will reverse, and you can go back to hearing how you previously did, prior to the infection. If the fluid does not drain – commonly seen in children – the continuous pressure can cause the eardrum to burst, which contributes to permanent hearing loss.
It’s important to prevent sinus infections as well as treating them right away, so that you don’t encounter any complications.
Other health complications that can stem from a sinus infection are headaches and throat problems, such as coughing or a sore throat.
Related: Natural treatments to unclog ears
Home remedies for clogged ears due to sinus infections
Here are some additional home remedies that can help alleviate ear problems associated with sinus infections and even wax build-up.
- Yawning helps redistribute the fluid in your ear.
- Take a hot, steamy shower.
- Make a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and warm water and pour it into the ear.
- Chew gum as it can help move wax out of the ear.
- Combine rubbing alcohol and vinegar and use the mixture as ear drops.
- Pinch your nose and blow to pop your ears.
- Drop warm olive oil into your ear – once again this breaks up wax.
- Combine rubbing alcohol and apple cider vinegar as ear drops to help treat infection.
- Apply warm compresses to the ears.
- Gargle with warm water and salt.
Tips to prevent sinus infections
In order to avoid ear pain and temporary hearing loss due to clogged ears as a result of sinus infections one must prevent sinus infections. Here are some tips to help you prevent sinus infections and avoid the complications associated with it.
- Control your allergies.
- Keep hydrated, which keeps mucus thin.
- Reduce alcohol consumption, which can worsen mucus.
- Minimize exposure to people with cold or flu.
- Always wash your hands and avoid germs.
- Avoid chlorinated swimming pools.
- Take a nasal spray or decongestant prior to flying.
- Don’t smoke, which can aggravate sinusitis, or quit smoking.
These tips can better help protect you against sinus infections. If you do develop a sinus infection, begin treatment right away to reduce complications.
Related: Facts about sinus headaches