COVID-19 Symptom: Clogged Ears
Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team
- Upper respiratory tract infection with the coronavirus can lead to blockages in the eustachian tube and result in clogged ears.
- Clogged ears can cause discomfort, pressure, and even dizziness or imbalance.
- In most cases, clogged ears from COVID-19 can be treated with simple techniques.
- As respiratory congestion caused by COVID-19 clears, the feeling of clogged ears generally subsides.
Clogged ears are rather the most frequent ear-related symptom of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus primarily affecting the upper respiratory tract. Congestion from any viral infection, including COVID-19, can block the eustachian tubes, which are responsible for equalizing pressure between the middle ear and the outside world. When that happens, it can cause your ears to feel clogged or full.
This article will delve into the relationship between COVID-19 and clogged ears, including causes, duration, and potential treatments.
What do clogged ears from COVID-19 feel like?
Clogged ears result from congestion in your eustachian tubes, which connect your middle ear to the back of your throat. When this happens, you may experience the following sensations in your ears: 1
What causes clogged ears with COVID-19?
Clogged ears can be caused by various factors, including allergies, sinus infections, changes in air pressure and even earwax.
However, with COVID-19, clogged ears are often a result of inflammation and congestion in the nasal passages and throat. 2 COVID-19 can cause inflammation in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, which can lead to congestion. This congestion can cause your eustachian tubes to become blocked. As a result, you may feel a sense of pressure or fullness in your ears.
How long will clogged ears from COVID-19 last?
There’s no specific duration for a blocked ear with COVID-19, as it can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the infection. If the blockage is due to congestion or inflammation in the eustachian tube, it will typically improve as the COVID-19 infection subsides, and the body's immune system begins to recover.
However, some studies have shown that the feeling of clogged ears may persist for extended periods and require medical intervention. 3
How can you treat clogged ears from COVID-19?
- Chew gum
- Nasal decongestants
- Topical nasal steroids
- Take a deep breath
- Pinch your nose and keep your mouth close
- Blow out of your nose
If done correctly, you will hear a pop which can help to open your eustachian tubes and relieve clogged ears. Be careful with this method: blowing too hard can cause ear infections by forcing bacteria into your ear canals, or you can blow out your eardrum. 7
For severe cases of clogged ears, ventilation tubes may be necessary to drain fluid and relieve pressure in the ears. This is typically only recommended in cases where other treatments have failed and the symptoms are severe or long-lasting.
Wrapping it up
COVID-19 can cause a range of ear problems, including clogged ears. This symptom is typically a result of congestion and inflammation in the eustachian tubes, which can cause discomfort, pressure, and even dizziness. Fortunately, in most cases, clogged ears can be relieved with simple techniques such as swallowing, yawning, or performing the Valsalva maneuver. However, seeking medical attention is essential if your symptoms persist or worsen. Your doctor may recommend nasal decongestants or ventilation tubes to help drain the fluid and relieve the pressure in your ears.
Q: Are clogged ears a symptom of COVID?
A: Clogged ears can be a symptom of COVID-19, but it’s not a common symptom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some people with COVID-19 have reported ear-related symptoms such as tinnitus or a feeling of fullness in the ear. However, these symptoms are less common than other COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Q: Why are my ears clogged with COVID?
A: Ears may become clogged with COVID-19 due to inflammation and congestion in the Eustachian tube. This tube connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, and it helps to regulate pressure in the ear and drain fluids. When the Eustachian tube becomes blocked or congested, it can cause a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear.
Q: When should I worry about my ears feeling clogged?
A: You should worry about your ears feeling clogged if the sensation persists for an extended time or is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, hearing loss, dizziness, or fever. These symptoms may indicate an ear infection or other underlying medical condition requiring prompt medical attention.
Q: What are the effects of COVID on the ears?
A: COVID-19 may cause ear-related symptoms such as tinnitus, ear pain, ear pressure, and Eustachian tube dysfunction. Some individuals with COVID-19 have reported temporary or permanent hearing loss, although it’s yet unclear why or how the virus affects the auditory system.
Q: How long does a blocked ear from COVID usually last?
A: The duration of a blocked ear with COVID-19 varies depending on the individual and the severity of the infection. It can last a few hours or days, or it may persist for extended periods and require medical intervention.
Q: Why do I feel dizzy from my clogged ears?
A: In some cases, clogged ears can also cause dizziness or imbalance. That’s because the inner ear contains a system of fluid-filled canals and sacs called the vestibular system, which detects changes in head position and movement. When the fluid in these canals is disturbed or displaced, such as when there’s a blockage in the Eustachian tube, it can send mixed signals to the brain about the body's position in space.