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Sore ears with cold: Earache: Is It a Cold or an Ear Infection?


How Cold Weather Affects Your Ear, Nose & Throat | High Lakes Health Care

When the weather turns cold, many people experience pain or discomfort in their ears, nose and throat. People often confuse symptoms caused by cold weather with illness or infection (or vice versa). It is important to know how cooler weather can affect your respiratory health.

Does Cold Weather Cause Ear Infections?

Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not cause ear infections. An ear infection is caused by bacteria in the upper respiratory system that travels up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear.

Even though cold weather doesn’t cause the issue, it can make symptoms more pronounced. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms, seek treatment. Studies show that recurring ear infections can cause hearing loss.

How do you prevent cold-induced ear pain?

While you can’t prevent an ear infection from developing, you can prevent ear pain that comes from decreased blood circulation in cold weather. Whenever you’re outside, be sure to cover your ears with a winter hat or ear muffs. This will provide warmth and protect you from harsh winds.

Why Does My Nose Run?

The technical term for a runny nose caused by cold temperatures is “cold-induced rhinorrhea.” One of the functions of the nose is to warm and humidify the air we breathe in order to prepare it for the lungs. Since cold air is dry, the nose produces liquid to condition the air we are breathing and the excess moisture ends up dripping out of our nose.

Not only does breathing in produce moisture, so does breathing out. Cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air, so when you breathe out, the vapor in your breath condenses at the end of your nose and turns into liquid.

Can I prevent cold-induced rhinorrhea?

Since your nose becomes runny because of its natural process of warming cool air, there isn’t much you can do to prevent it. But when you enter a warm building, your symptoms should go away quickly.

Is My Sore Throat From Cold Air?

Sore throats aren’t always caused by being sick. Cold air can dry out the tissue in the throat and can cause severe irritation. Symptoms can be made worse when breathing through the mouth rather than the nose. Because of this, it is common for people to have a sore throat from cold weather after exercising.

How do I prevent throat pain from cold air?

When running, skiing or simply walking, try to remember to breathe through your nose so that moisture can be added to the air. If throat soreness does develop, it should go away soon after coming back inside.

Are Your Ear, Nose or Throat Symptoms Not Going Away?

The conditions listed above tend to go away immediately or last a day or two at most. If any of your symptoms are persisting after this period of time, it could be caused by something more serious. At High Lakes Health Care, we will identify and treat any potential conditions to get you feeling well again.

To make an appointment with High Lakes Health Care, please call (541) 389-7741.

Plugged ears: What is the remedy?

I’m just getting over a cold, and my ears feel plugged. What causes this? Is there any remedy for plugged ears?

Answer From Laura J. Orvidas, M.D.

With plugged ears, your eustachian tubes — which run between your middle ear and the back of your nose — become obstructed. You may experience a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ears. You may also have ear pain, dizziness and muffled hearing. As swelling from the cold subsides, the obstruction usually resolves.

If your ears are plugged, try swallowing, yawning or chewing sugar-free gum to open your eustachian tubes. If this doesn’t work, take a deep breath and try to blow out of your nose gently while pinching your nostrils closed and keeping your mouth shut. If you hear a popping noise, you know you have succeeded.

Other options for clearing plugged ears may include:

  • Nasal decongestants, but for no more than a few days
  • Topical nasal steroids, especially in people with allergies
  • Ventilation tubes, in severe cases, to drain fluid and relieve pressure

Call your doctor if your symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks.


Laura J. Orvidas, M.D.

  • Vitamin C and mood
  • Cold or allergy: Which is it?

Jan. 17, 2020

Show references

  1. Poe D, et al. Eustachian tube dysfunction. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 17, 2017.
  2. Ears and altitude. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/ears-and-altitude. Accessed Oct. 17, 2017.
  3. Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Ear, nose, & throat disorders. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2018. 57th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2018. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Oct. 17, 2017.
  4. Orvidas LJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 17, 2017.

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How To Prevent Ear Infections When It’s Cold

It’s not just kids who get ear infections — adults can have them, too. Here’s how to reduce your risk.

If you feel pain or fullness in your ear, notice fluid leaking out or are having trouble hearing, you might have an ear infection. Although more common in children, adults can get them, as well — especially in the winter, when colds and flu lead to secondary infections.

Ear infections occur when your middle ear gets clogged and air can’t get through, creating a moist breeding ground for bacteria.

“Simple acute ear infections can occur if the Eustachian tube, which connects the nose to the middle ear space, gets blocked and fluid builds up,” says John S. Oghalai, MD, an otolaryngologist at Keck Medicine of USC, and chair and professor of otolaryngology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Children are more likely to get ear infections, because their Eustachian tubes are shorter and more horizontal, so they don’t drain as well.

You can take measures to reduce your risk of infection, especially in the colder months when they are more common:

Practice cold prevention

The more you’re sick with colds, the more likely one will turn into an ear infection. So, remember to wash your hands well, especially before touching your face or eating, and avoid sick people.

Try nasal irrigation

Oghalai recommends rinsing out your nose, to keep your passages free and clear.

“The best preventive measure is probably daily nasal irrigation with saline, to remove irritants and allergens from the nasopharynx, the back of the nose where the Eustachian tube opening is,” he says.

Get a flu shot

Along with cold prevention, you should take measures for avoiding the flu, as well. Reducing your risk of coming down with influenza means less risk of germs migrating to your ears, while you’re sick.

Take care of allergies

Allergies can wreak havoc, when heading into winter, but keeping them under control can keep your ear tubes from getting swollen. Oghalai recommends anti-allergy nasal sprays, such as Flonase or Nasonex.

Keep your ears clean and dry

Proper hygiene also can help keep your ears healthy. After showering, use your finger and a tissue. You can even use a blow-dryer, while you’re drying your hair. But, “never use a cotton swab,” according to Oghalai.

“It takes out about half the earwax and pushes the other half in very deep, where it is really hard to get it out,” he says. “Earwax naturally comes out in the shower, and most people have no need to worry about buildup.”

Don’t smoke

Cigarette smoke is an irritant, and smoking can lead to your tubes becoming inflamed. And secondhand smoke can have a similar effect.

“Stay away from irritants, pollution and smoke,” Oghalai says.

When to see the doctor

Ear infections often clear up on their own, without antibiotics, but if you’re in a lot of pain or it’s been a few days, call your doctor. Chronic ear infections can be a problem for some people with a perforated eardrum or a long history of ear disease since childhood. Talk to your doctor about your options in this case.

“If fluid continues to build up in the middle ear space, we now consider Eustachian tube dilation,” Oghalai says. “A balloon is used to dilate the Eustachian tube, to improve aeration and fluid drainage. If this is done, an ear tube is not needed, lowering the risk for long-term side effects that can be associated with this treatment.”

by Tina Donvito

If you think you may have an ear infection, make an appointment with one of our otolaryngology specialists at Keck Medicine. If you are in the Los Angeles area, schedule an appointment, by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment.

Middle-Ear Infection in Adults | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Otitis media is another name for a middle-ear infection. It means an
infection behind your eardrum. This kind of ear infection can happen after
any condition that keeps fluid from draining from the middle ear. These
conditions include allergies, a cold, a sore throat, or a respiratory

Middle-ear infections are common in children, but they can also happen in
adults. An ear infection in an adult may mean a more serious problem than
in a child. So you may need additional tests. If you have an ear infection,
you should see your health care provider for treatment.

What are the types of middle-ear infections?

Infections can affect the middle ear in several ways. They are:

  • Acute otitis media.
    This middle-ear infection occurs suddenly. It causes swelling and
    redness. Fluid and mucus become trapped inside the ear. You can
    have a fever and ear pain.

  • Otitis media with effusion.
    Fluid (effusion) and mucus build up in the middle ear after the
    infection goes away. You may feel like your middle ear is full.
    This can continue for months and may affect your hearing.

  • Chronic otitis media with effusion.
    Fluid (effusion) remains in the middle ear for a long time. Or it
    builds up again and again, even though there is no infection. This
    type of middle-ear infection may be hard to treat. It may also
    affect your hearing.

Who is more likely to get a middle-ear infection?

You are more likely to get an ear infection if you:

  • Smoke or are around someone who smokes

  • Have seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms

  • Have a cold or other upper respiratory infection

What causes a middle-ear infection in adults?

The middle ear connects to the throat by a canal called the eustachian
tube. This tube helps even out the pressure between the outer ear and the
inner ear. A cold or allergy can irritate the tube or cause the area around
it to swell. This can keep fluid from draining from the middle ear. The
fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Bacteria and viruses can grow in this
fluid. The bacteria and viruses cause the middle-ear infection.

What are the symptoms of a middle-ear infection in adults?

Common symptoms of a middle-ear infection in adults are:

  • Pain in 1 or both ears

  • Drainage from the ear

  • Muffled hearing

  • Sore throat

You may also have a fever. Rarely, your balance can be affected.

These symptoms may be the same as for other conditions. It’s important to
talk with your health care provider if you think you have a middle-ear
infection. If you have a high fever, severe pain behind your ear, or
paralysis in your face, see your provider as soon as you can.

How is a middle-ear infection diagnosed in adults?

Your health care provider will take a medical history and do a physical
exam. He or she will look at the outer ear and eardrum with an otoscope.
The otoscope is a lighted tool that lets your provider see inside the ear.
A pneumatic otoscope blows a puff of air into the ear to check how well
your eardrum moves. If you eardrum doesn’t move well, it may mean you have
fluid behind it.

Your provider may also do a test called tympanometry. This test tells how
well the middle ear is working. It can find any changes in pressure in the
middle ear. Your provider may test your hearing with a tuning fork.

How is a middle-ear infection  in adults treated?

A middle-ear infection may be treated with:

  • Antibiotics, taken by mouth or as ear drops

  • Medication for pain

  • Decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal steroids

Your health care provider may also have you try autoinsufflation. This
helps adjust the air pressure in your ear. For this, you pinch your nose
and gently exhale. This forces air back through the eustachian tube.

The exact treatment for your ear infection will depend on the type of
infection you have. In general, if your symptoms don’t get better in 48 to
72 hours, contact your health care provider.

Middle-ear infections can cause long-term problems if not treated. They can
lead to:

If you have a middle-ear infection that doesn’t get better, you may need to
see an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist). You may need a
CT scan or MRI to check for head and neck cancer.

Ear Tubes in Adults

Sometimes fluid stays in the middle ear even after you take antibiotics and
the infection goes away. In this case, your health care provider may
suggest that a small tube be placed in your ear. The tube is put at the
opening of the eardrum. The tube keeps fluid from building up and relieves
pressure in the middle ear. It can also help you hear better. This surgery
is called myringotomy. It is not often done in adults.

The tubes usually fall out on their own after 6 months to a year.

Ear – Congestion

Is this your child’s symptom?

  • Stuffy or plugged up feeling in the ear
  • Crackling or popping noise in the ear
  • Hearing is often muffled
  • No ear pain, except with air-travel type
  • Rare complaint before age 4 or 5 years

Causes of Ear Congestion

  • Common Cold. A viral infection of the nose is the most common cause. The nasal congestion also blocks the ear tube (eustachian tube). The ear tube normally keeps air in the middle ear.
  • Ear Infection. Middle ear pus can also cause muffled hearing on that side. This commonly happens with an ear infection.
  • Middle Ear Fluid. Fluid may remain in the middle ear after the infection is cleared up. It can last for months. The main symptoms are popping and crackling noises in the ear.
  • Blowing the Nose. Blowing too hard can force secretions into the ear tube.
  • Allergic Rhinitis. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollens. It causes nasal congestion, clear drainage and sneezing. It also can block the ear tube and back up secretions in the ear.
  • Airplane Ear. If the ear tube is blocked, sudden increases in air pressure can cause the eardrum to stretch. The main symptom is ear pain. Sometimes, it just causes congestion. It usually starts when coming down for a landing. It can also occur during mountain driving.

When to Call for Ear – Congestion

Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Earache
  • Could be a foreign object in the ear canal
  • Ear congestion lasts more than 48 hours

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • Could be blocked with ear wax
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Ear congestion most likely from blocked ear tube

Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations

If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

Care Advice for Ear Congestion

  1. What You Should Know About Ear Congestion:
    • Most often, this is from a blocked ear tube (eustachian tube). This tube normally drains the space behind the eardrum.
    • It is usually not caused by an ear infection.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Swallow and Chew More:
    • Swallow water or other fluid while the nose is pinched closed. Reason: makes a vacuum in the nose that helps the ear tube open up.
    • After age 6, can also use chewing gum.
  3. Decongestant Nose Spray (Age 12 years or Older):
    • If chewing doesn’t help after 1 or 2 hours, use a long-acting decongestant nose spray. An example is Afrin.
    • Dose: 1 spay per side, 2 times per day as needed.
    • Don’t use for more than 3 days. Reason: can cause rebound swelling in the nose.
    • Decongestants given by mouth (such as Sudafed) are another choice. They can also open a stuffy nose and ears. Side effects: they may make a person feel nervous or dizzy. Follow the package directions.
  4. Allergy Medicines:
    • Nose allergies can cause ear stuffiness.
    • If your child has hay fever or other allergies, give an allergy medicine. An example is Benadryl.
    • See the Nose Allergy care guide for other advice.
  5. What to Expect:
    • The symptoms most often clear within 2 days (48 hours) with treatment.
    • It’s safe for your child to swim or fly.
  6. Prevention During Air or Mountain Travel:
    • It’s safe to fly when your child has a cold.
    • Most symptoms happen when the airplane is coming down in altitude. This is the descent of the plane during the 15 minutes before landing.
    • Keep your child awake during takeoff and descent.
    • Swallow during descent using fluids or a pacifier.
    • Age over 6: can chew gum during descent.
    • Yawning during descent also can open the middle ear.
    • Drink lots of fluids throughout the flight. This will prevent the nasal secretions from drying out.
  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Ear pain occurs
    • Ear congestion lasts more than 48 hours
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the ‘Call Your Doctor’ symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

Last Reviewed: 09/23/2021

Last Revised: 03/11/2021

Copyright 2000-2021. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

There’s A Reason Why You Get Earache When It’s Cold Outside

The UK has braced storm after storm (hello Ciara and Dennis) and the bad weather is showing no sign of slowing down – expect frost, wintry showers and bitterly cold winds in the weeks ahead. Sob.

In these chilly climates, you might notice your ears hurt when walking to the bus stop in the mornings or during a weekend stroll – a painful ache deep inside that can get worse the longer you’re outside.

But why does this happen? And what can you do to prevent it?

Dr Simran Deo, from online doctor Zava, says our ears are one of the most sensitive areas of our body due to the number of nerves in and around our ear canals. Cold temperatures and strong winds can irritate this canal, which can, in turn, cause pain.

“Our ears aren’t covered by the layer of fat that covers the rest of our body,” she explains, “meaning that all these areas are exposed to the weather. Cold air can also reach the ear drum, which is also very sensitive.”

Everyone is different, so those who often experience earache in the cold may have a different makeup of nerves in their ears than others, she suggests.

The good news? If this is an issue you struggle with, it’s usually nothing to worry about and won’t cause any lasting damage. You can relieve symptoms by wearing a hat or earmuffs when you spend time outside, advises Dr Deo.

Don’t try to put anything inside your ear, such as cotton buds, and try not to let water get inside, states the NHS.

“Our ears aren’t covered by the layer of fat that covers the rest of our body”

– Dr Simran Deo

If you have an ear infection – which is particularly common in children and can be caused by colds, flu and allergies – the pain is likely to be worse when you’re out and about. Again, it’s important to cover up.

Dr Deo adds that you may be able to relieve symptoms of an ear infection with over the counter painkillers, trying a hot or cold compress, or talking to your local pharmacist about other treatments, such as drops.

It’s important to remember if you have earache and become unwell with a hot temperature – or feeling hot and then shivery – call NHS 111 for advice.

The same applies if you have earache and notice swelling around the ear, fluid coming from the ear, hearing loss or a change in hearing, or something stuck in the ear.

COVID-19 and Ear infection | Cooper University Health Care

Coronavirus and ear infection can have similar symptoms, such as fever and headache, but Cooper experts have put together a guide to help you differentiate the two.

Ear infections, often called otitis media, occur when fluid collects behind the ear drum and becomes infected. Middle ear infection is usually preceded by a cold, flu, or upper respiratory tract infection. Children between 6 and 36 months are the most likely to get ear infections, although they can occur in older children and adults as well.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus that causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing.

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by washing your hands frequently, not touching your face, wearing a face mask, and practicing physical distancing by avoiding close contact with people who do not live in your household.

Coronavirus vs. Ear Infection

Fever X X
Headache X X
Digestive Discomfort X  
Sore Throat X  
Cough Dry (no mucus)  
Chest Pain X  
Nasal Congestion X  
Shortness of Breath X  
Bluish Lips or Face X  
Chills and Aches X  
Loss of Smell and Taste X  
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) X  
Tiredness X  
Fullness in ears   X
Fluid draining from ears   X
Hearing loss   X
Ear pain   X
Trouble sleeping   X
Loss of balance   X

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an ear infection a symptom of COVID-19?

Ear infections and COVID-19 share few common symptoms, most notably fever and headache. Ear infections are not a commonly reported symptom of COVID-19.

Can COVID-19 cause an ear infection?

Otitis media occurs when fluid collects behind the ear drum and becomes infected usually preceded by cold, flu or upper respiratory tract infection. Mucus or pus can build up behind the eardrum, causing pressure and pain. In general, COVID-19 has not been associated with ear infections, and generally these types of infections do not share a great deal of common symptoms.

Are you likely to get an ear infection after coronavirus?

It is possible, but unlikely, to develop an ear infection after coronavirus, as ear infections are not a common symptom related to COVID-19.

Contact Us

If you have flu-like symptoms and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, review our instructions and information on our testing sites.

If you believe you have ear infection, call 800.826.6737 to make an appointment with an expert from the Division of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery to discuss your options.

90,000 Why does a child have ear pain with a cold (against the background of a runny nose and cough)?

Quite often, patients complain that when they have a runny nose for a long time, the ear begins to hurt. The clinical picture with a cold in itself carries an unpleasant sensation. The appearance of a cough, runny nose, migraine, pain in the head and ears will not please anyone. A person will feel even worse if a piercing ear pain joins the colds. It is especially unpleasant if these symptoms bother a small child.In such situations, it is necessary to know not only about emergency measures to help the sick person, but also about the reasons for the appearance of a particular symptom.

Quite often it happens that if one of the ENT organs gets sick, other ENT organs are also involved in the process. This is especially true for children, in whom the auditory and nasal canals are more closely interconnected than in adults. Even a harmless cold can result in decreased hearing for the patient, stuffy nose and ears, and other troubles.

Intense ear pains following a recent runny nose are not uncommon. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the sulfur plug formed in the ear. Sulfur masses are continuously produced inside our ears, which is the norm. They are needed to perform the protective function of the ear, preventing its infection. However, in pathological cases, the production of sulfur can increase to such an extent that blockage of the auditory canal occurs. As a result, the patient feels congestion and severe pain in the ear.

Young children very often complain of pain in the ear, which develops against the background of a prolonged runny nose. The reason for this condition is the structural feature of the Eustachian tube, which in children is very short, which allows infection to easily penetrate from the nasal sinuses into the auricle. Inflammation of the middle or inner ear in otolaryngological practice is called otitis media , which often manifests itself in children after rhinitis, acute respiratory viral infections, acute respiratory infections, less often develops as an independent disease.

If a child has ear pain during or after a cold, most likely, this is a sign of complications that appeared against the background of an untreated runny nose, improper nose blowing, active coughing (especially if the child coughs or blows his nose with excessive effort to “please” the parents) … In the process of the development of the inflammatory process in the nasal mucosa, the pressure inside the tympanic cavity decreases, the membrane is pressed in, which increases the pressure of the intralabyrinth fluid. Such changes cause complaints in the child not only that the ear hurts, but also a headache, “knocking” and “heaviness” in the temples, throbbing and rather severe soreness.With a runny nose, swelling of the nasal mucosa occurs, nasal breathing is disturbed, the child is often forced to breathe through the mouth, may complain of congestion in the ears, which develops after a few hours or days.

Ear pain with a runny nose or cough is not the only symptom that will bother a child. In the acute period of developing otitis media the clinic can be quite pronounced and be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • congestion in the ear;
  • body temperature from 37 to 39.5 degrees;
  • hearing loss;
  • 90,019 tinnitus;

  • painful sensations can be in the temples, teeth, jaw from the inflamed side.

Ear pain can be of different intensity, but, often, it is pulsating, acute, prevents children from sleeping, playing, eating, causing the baby to cry constantly, irritability. In some cases, with the development of otitis media, there is a discharge from the ear canal, which can have a transparent, greenish or yellowish tint. The appearance of any discharge from the auditory canal should alert parents and cause an immediate visit to the otolaryngologist !

How to help a child?

Ear pain in a child is sometimes unbearable, moreover, it often manifests itself at night, when there is no opportunity to visit a doctor. In such cases, parents must independently help the child, take several actions that will help reduce pain, improve the general condition of the baby.

Any anti-inflammatory drug with analgesic and antipyretic properties will help reduce soreness in the ears, relieve inflammation: Ibuprofen, Nurofen, Cefekon, Panadol, Nimulid (Nise), etc. In the process of using such drugs, the recommended age doses must be strictly observed.

The first aid for ear pain is ear drops Otipax , which begin to take effect within 5 minutes after being instilled into the ear cavity.The use of this drug will reduce inflammation, eliminate ear pain.

Vasoconstrictor drops in the nose. Allow to relieve swelling, congestion, improve nasal breathing, relieve inflammation: Otrivin, Vibrocil, Naphtizin, Nazivin, Bebinos and others. The use of vasoconstrictor nasal drops allows you to expand the lumen of the Eustachian tube, improve the outflow of the contents (if any) from the auricle.

If after first aid, the pain subsided – the child fell asleep, this does not mean that the problem is solved.Parents should still consult a doctor (as soon as possible after the onset of ear pain), this will help to exclude possible complications in the future. If the ear continues to hurt at night, an ambulance must be called urgently.

During the period of treatment, parents need to strictly follow all the doctor’s recommendations, create all conditions for the speedy recovery of the child. In addition to the main treatment, the patient needs rest, sound sleep. Overvoltage, walking, running are prohibited.If all the recommendations are followed, the disease will soon recede.

Often, especially in childhood, ear pain appears against the background of coughing due to respiratory diseases accompanied by cough (tracheitis, bronchitis, etc.). When a person coughs, germs in the nasopharynx travel through the Eustachian tube into the eardrum, causing pain and inflammation in the middle ear.

It is not enough to treat only ear pain in this case! It is not the ear pain that needs to be treated, but the cause.In this case, the treatment will be prescribed by the pediatrician after a full examination of the child. And treatment in this case will be directed to the infected airways, the elimination of pain in the ear will be only symptomatic therapy.

If do not neglect all the recommendations of doctors, you can quickly get rid of the disease.

Be healthy!

90,000 Why does ears clog with a cold

Let’s see why the ears “stick” in case of a cold?

One of the most common symptoms of a cold is a runny nose (rhinitis), which gives the patient a lot of unpleasant sensations: the sense of smell disappears, the appetite disappears, and breathing becomes difficult during sleep.In addition to discomfort, inflammation of the nasal mucosa can also lead to hearing loss, congestion, “squelching” or “clicking” in the ears.

The fact is that the auditory tube anatomically connects the nasopharynx and the tympanic cavity. During swallowing, air through the auditory tube enters the tympanic cavity, thus maintaining a constant pressure in the latter.

During a runny nose, not only the nasal cavity swells, but the lumen of the auditory tube also narrows or even closes.All this contributes to a decrease in pressure in the tympanic cavity, the eardrum retracts and loses its mobility, as a result of which hearing deteriorates.

What to do if your ears are blocked

If ear congestion is present for more than a day, medical attention is required. To assess the patient’s condition, the doctor conducts the necessary research.

Often, after examining the patient, the specialist resorts to an additional research method – acoustic impedance (tympanometry), which allows you to clarify the pathology of the auditory tube and exclude the onset of inflammation in the middle ear.

Ear congestion that occurs during a cold is a problem that requires timely diagnosis and treatment. Timely prescribed therapy helps prevent the development of many unpleasant complications from the middle ear.

Do not postpone treatment, make an appointment with an experienced otorhinolaryngologist by calling the unified contact center +7 (495) 775 75 66, use the online appointment service or contact the clinic’s registry.

Information for you has been prepared by:

Anna Anatolyevna Kotenkova – otorhinolaryngologist. Conducts a reception in the building of the clinic on Usacheva.

Ears hurt with a cold: how to treat

Ear pains are familiar to everyone from childhood. As a rule, ear pain occurs suddenly and can be:

  • sharp;
  • pulsating;
  • blunt;
  • increasing;
  • arising from swallowing.

There are many reasons for this.But the most common is the common cold: ARVI, acute respiratory infections, flu, tonsillitis. Why there is pain in the ears, how to identify the main cause of the appearance of unpleasant sensations in the ear area, how to treat it correctly and how to prevent it, if possible – read in this material.

Contents of the article


Ear pain with a cold can be an independent disease or a consequence of other types of diseases. When such pain occurs due to perforation of the tympanic membrane, trauma, the ingress of chemicals into the ear area, sudden noise, changes in external pressure, etc.reasons, then we can talk about deformation or disruption of the organs of the complex auditory system. Then ear disease is the main cause of pain symptoms. But often pain occurs as a result of diseases of organs and systems of the body:

  • cardiovascular;
  • nervous;
  • digestive;
  • lymphatic, etc.

But the most frequent visit to the doctor is the patient’s complaint that the ear hurts after a cold. Then the diagnosis, as a rule, is made – otitis media unilateral (one ear) or bilateral (both).


With colds of a viral, infectious nature, an inflammatory process occurs in the body, which, as a rule, starts from the throat, then flows into the nose and captures all ENT organs. It is known that the ear, throat, nose are inextricably linked organs, and when tissues are damaged by pathogenic microbes of one of them, inflammation spreads to other neighboring organs, in particular, to the ears. This is why your ears hurt when you have a cold. The mucous membranes are a favorable environment for the development of pathogenic microelements.Therefore, if you have colds, you should consult a doctor. The disease must be cured to the end. As a rule, when the symptoms decrease, patients stop drinking the medications prescribed by the doctor, and this is wrong. Outward relief does not mean that the cold has been completely cured. Many people simply carry the disease on their feet. Both the untreated cold and the one left without treatment give complications to the ears – in the form of otitis media of various degrees.

Runny nose (temperature)

Runny nose is one of the most common reasons for the development of otitis media

A prolonged or severe runny nose can provoke otitis media, since the pathogenic flora in the nasal mucosa with a cold captures the ear system.Viruses and microbes infect healthy tissues of the nasopharynx and spread to neighboring tissues – the inner ear. The cells of the ear zone are damaged. If a runny nose is not treated, then the disease can become severe. Then the temperature rises, which indicates a strong inflammatory process in the body. In addition to the severe form of purulent otitis media, a severe runny nose can lead to sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, bronchitis, pharyngitis and even pneumonia. When the ear hurts due to a runny nose, then treatment should begin with the treatment of a runny nose.To avoid complications and the appearance of chronic diseases, all treatment should be carried out after visiting a doctor.


Ear pain with colds is accompanied by additional symptoms:

  • ear congestion;
  • tinnitus;
  • discharge from the ear area;
  • temperature;
  • chills;
  • vomiting possible;
  • general malaise;
  • partial hearing loss;
  • dizziness;
  • Movement coordination disorder.

If at least one of the symptoms occurs, then this is a reason to consult a specialist.


Ears hurt with a cold, how to treat? This question will be answered by an otolaryngologist when you visit the clinic. Only a doctor will give recommendations for treatment after an extensive diagnosis, which includes: external examination, examination of the ears with an otoscope or endoscope, transillumination of the ear with a special light beam, taking anamnesis, and taking tests. If in doubt, X-ray or MRI is possible.If the doctor determines that ear pain has occurred with a cold, then all treatment will be aimed at relieving the inflammatory process in the ENT organs. Then the main method of treatment will be antibiotic therapy. It can be used both internally and externally – in the form of ear drops – Kantibiotic, Otipax, Otinum. In the absence of pus in the ear area, external use of boric alcohol is possible. An effective combination of medicines with physiotherapy allows ENT doctors to prescribe:

  • electrophoresis;
  • UHF;
  • Magnetic laser therapy;
  • shock wave, etc.

If you see a doctor with acute pain and fever, the first thing he will do is relieve the pain with the help of painkillers. With strong symptoms, novocaine blockade is possible. Only then will the doctor move on to a full diagnosis. And if, after clinical and laboratory studies, the diagnosis of otitis media is confirmed, then the doctor must determine the type of disease before the appointment: acute or chronic; outer, middle or inner.

As an additional type of treatment, the doctor prescribes herbal medicine – herbal treatment.The doctor will recommend you such collections of herbs that have antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties. They may include chamomile, sage, St. John’s wort, willow tea, etc. Prepare decoctions, infusions, solutions, lotions, compresses in accordance with the instructions, observing the recommendations for concentration.

At home

After doctor’s prescriptions, all treatment takes place at home, with periodic visits to the doctor. This is necessary, since the doctor must monitor the dynamics of the prescribed complex of medical procedures.When prescribing injections or droppers, as well as physiotherapy, the patient must come to the treatment room of the clinic. Everything else: taking pills, vitamins, other drugs, herbal treatment (juices, teas, decoctions, infusions, compresses, lotions, etc.) – the patient must do at home, observing all the doctor’s recommendations:

  • on the composition of the drugs taken;
  • quantity;
  • duration;
  • receiving frequency.

Drug treatment

In case of an inflammatory process in the ear zone, drugs are needed:

  • antibacterial action;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • antimicrobial;
  • antihistamines;
  • vasodilators, promoting blood circulation;
  • vitamins, especially of groups B and D;
  • supporting immunity.

In parallel with the ear treatment, the throat and nose should be treated. Therefore, the doctor also prescribes medications with vasoconstrictor properties – for instillation into the nose, which will relieve the nasopharynx of mucus and infection. Medicine offers a huge range of medical services: new drugs, the most harmless antibiotics, drugs with minimal side effects, but most effective in treating ears after a cold. Treatment is prescribed strictly individually, depending on:

  • the severity of symptoms; 90 020 90 019 the age of the patient and his physiology;
  • personal susceptibility to various medications; 90 020 90 019 the presence of chronic diseases;
  • hereditary diseases and predispositions.


Ear pain that occurs during or after a cold can be prevented. To do this, it is enough to lead a healthy lifestyle, temper, move a lot, walk in the fresh air, eat right, maintain your immunity with the necessary vitamins and microelements. And, of course, you need to avoid:

  • hypothermia;
  • liquid entering the auricle;
  • strong wind and no headgear.

All colds should be treated to the end – in accordance with the doctor’s prescription.

By and large, your health is completely in your hands.

Ears hurt with a cold – how to treat?

The ear hurts with a cold due to the spread of the inflammatory process in the ear sections. An additional factor that aggravates the pain is the accumulation of fluid or pus in the ear. Painful sensations with otitis media are strong, so people prone to the disease are very interested in the question of what to do if their ears hurt with a cold.

How to treat ears if they hurt with a cold?

If the ear is blocked with a cold, and it hurts, then this indicates the presence of pathogenic microflora. Bacteria, viruses and fungi cause inflammation. The choice of the drug depends on the type of infection with otitis media.

Drops sold in a pharmacy, as a rule, have a double effect: they suppress the vital activity of microorganisms and relieve pain. If the inflammation in the ear is caused by bacteria, then drops can be used:

  • Normax;
  • Polydex;
  • Otinum.

Candibiotic drops help with otitis media of bacterial and mycological etiology.

In order to prevent the development of otitis media with influenza and SARS, doctors recommend flushing the nasal passages with sprays and drops based on seawater, for example, the drug Rivanol.

Otipax drops contain phenazole and lidocaine, which block pain syndrome. Ear ointments Hydrocortisone and Oxycort help to eliminate swelling inside the ear.

In addition to drops, antibiotics are recommended for bacterial infections.

Attention! The choice of a medicine for otitis media is the prerogative of a specialist. An incorrectly selected remedy can cause subsequent complications, up to complete deafness.

Home remedies for otitis media

For the treatment of otitis media at home, the following can be used:

  • boric acid alcohol solution;
  • thuja oil;
  • tincture of calendula diluted in half with boiled water;
  • camphor alcohol.

The indicated funds can be instilled into the ear openings every 2-3 hours or put turundochki moistened with a warm solution into the ears.

Alcohol compresses applied to the parotid region perfectly relieve inflammation.

What if my ears hurt after a cold?

Sometimes the ears are stuffy and hurt after a cold, so we will consider how to treat them in this case. If internal otitis media has not developed, otolaryngologists recommend using ear phyto-suppositories Reamed, Tentorium. Otherwise, antibiotic therapy may be needed. It is also worth removing earwax plugs by contacting a medical facility.

90,000 Ear inflammation in summer

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Moscow, Samotechnaya, 5

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90,000 “Plugged ears with a cold: what to do?” – Yandex.Kew


Human susceptibility to colds during the cold season is known. But along with a runny nose, cough and body aches, an equally uncomfortable phenomenon can develop – ear congestion.

This is due to the anatomical structure of the throat, auditory canals, as well as the nasal cavity. The sinuses of the ears are communicated with the openings of the nasopharynx: along these paths, air is transmitted that enters the process of chewing or swallowing. If a person is healthy, there is a stable pressure in the tympanic cavity.The chewing process does not cause discomfort, the ability to hear is not impaired. But the obstruction to the normal flow of air causes the pressure level to decrease, creating a feeling of congestion in the ear.

At the same time, there is an intense swelling of the nasal mucosa, and unsuccessful attempts to breathe them create the need to keep the oral cavity ajar to compensate for the normal flow of air. The back pressure generated in the nasopharynx contributes to the congestion in the ears, which can be relieved by eliminating the swelling of the nasal cavity.

Why can ears be blocked?

Against the background of a cold, other diseases can develop, which are not always possible to recognize, directing all actions to restore breathing. The pathologies that complicate a respiratory infection include:

  • Otitis . The disease has a bacterial origin, characterized by the formation of a purulent focus, which entails pain, hyperthermic syndromes, general malaise, hearing impairment.As the abscess matures, there is a consistently high body temperature, unilateral congestion, sensitivity of the skin of the parotid space, acute pain when pressing on the tragus. An improvement in the condition occurs after the boil opens, and its contents flow out. It is important during sleep to lie on the side of the lesion so that the masses do not reach the brain.
  • Rhinitis or sinusitis. The accumulation of mucous secretions in the nasal cavity affects the state of hearing.Swollen airways cause discomfort, affecting the throat and ears, so congestion is often caused by a runny nose or sinusitis, especially if they have been treated incorrectly and become chronic. To make sure that the assumption is correct, it is necessary to pinch the wings of the nose and make an intense exhalation: a clicking sound or hum, as well as one-sided congestion, indicate the relationship of diseases.

  • Inflammatory lesion of the facial nerve .The disease can be differentiated by the following symptoms: soreness in the cheek, temple, chin; manifestations are noted only on one side; the feeling of numbness of the face grows, a rash occurs on the skin behind the auricle. Treatment of pathology takes place not in the ENT department, but in a neurological hospital. The therapeutic process is time consuming.
  • Eustachian tube inflammation . The disease is accompanied by an increase in body temperature, deterioration in the quality of hearing, dizziness, a feeling of the presence of water in the ear canal.If the inflammatory process is not stopped in a timely manner, hearing loss may occur.
  • Cerebrovascular accident . A cold causes the development of intoxication that circulates throughout the body: this contributes to a change in the level of blood pressure. Against the background of a respiratory infection, this indicator may decrease or increase, indicating a violation of blood circulation in the vessels. It is difficult to identify a violation of blood flow in the tissues of the brain at the time of respiratory illness, it is possible that the help of a neurologist will be required.

It can also block the ear in case of a cold due to prolonged use of certain groups of drugs, where such a hearing impairment is a side effect. But it is contraindicated to independently establish the cause, and even more so to treat the condition.


Normalization of the state assumes an integrated approach. To establish a causal relationship, such diagnostic methods are used as:

  • Otoscopy .Allows you to assess the internal state of the auditory canals, to determine the spectrum of the existing lesion. Identify in which department the problem is localized.

  • Bacteriological examination . A washout of the ear cavity is sent for analysis – the laboratory assistant determines the pathogen that caused the disease. Taking into account which specific microorganism caused the inflammatory process, an antibiotic is subsequently prescribed.
  • MRI . An informative diagnostic method that allows you to assess the structure and condition of the blood vessels of the brain, its tissues and the level of functional activity.This type of study helps to confirm that the congestion in the ears is triggered by impaired blood circulation.

Blocked ears for colds: treatment

If you suspect a disease accompanied by the formation of a purulent focus (otitis media), it is categorically contraindicated to use boric alcohol, to make and apply warming compresses.

The ENT doctor will prescribe ear drops with antibacterial properties for otitis media, eustachitis and other diseases of bacterial genesis.On a regular basis, it is necessary to rinse the nasal cavity – this will reduce the degree of manifestation of edema and unblock the respiratory channels from accumulations of mucous secretions. For the procedure, you can purchase a special antiseptic solution at the pharmacy or make it yourself: a combination of furacilin + warm purified water or sea salt + heated distilled water are alternative options in this case. You can use the product as a spray by spraying it onto the surface of the nasal mucosa.

Acute soreness in inflammatory processes of the ear sections can be stopped with analgesic drugs – the ENT doctor is responsible for the appointment of a specific drug.

A neuropathologist deals with impaired cerebral circulation and elimination of congestion in the ear: eliminating the root cause and restoring blood flow, it is possible to successfully get rid of such hearing impairment. To restore blood supply in the tissues of the brain, piracetam, cerebrolysin, actovegin are prescribed.

Since the ears often become blocked during intense blowing out, the condition can be restored as follows: firmly pinch the wings of the nose with your fingers, then blow air until a specific sound is heard – a pop or click. After that, you need to swallow 5-8 times. The procedure will help restore normal pressure in the eardrum. It is possible that improvements in well-being will not be noticeable immediately.

The need for physiotherapeutic methods and the use of traditional medicine is discussed with a doctor.

It is important to avoid hypothermia of the body, stay in a draft, choose a wardrobe in accordance with weather conditions and temperature conditions. The specialist will prescribe fortified food and the use of warm milk with the addition of honey before bed – such a drink will allow you to fully relax and have a beneficial effect on the quality of sleep.

In case of congestion in the ears, which has arisen against the background of a respiratory infection, one should not hesitate to seek medical help. After all, the spectrum of the problem is quite wide: from a sulfur plug, which requires immediate removal from the auditory canal, to a violation of blood circulation in the tissues of the brain.The option of self-treatment is excluded.

Material provided


Otitis is different – the danger is the same!

City Advertising Newspaper ARENA issued No. 20 with an interview with AA Novozhilov, an otorhinolaryngologist-surgeon of the highest category.

Ear pain is one of the most severe types of pain familiar to humans. And most often it is caused by otitis media. How to recognize otitis media in a small child? What complications are dangerous otitis media, what means can provide first aid and what, on the contrary, harm? When are ear drops a waste of time?

Novozhilov Alexey Alexandrovich – leading otosurgeon, otorhinolaryngologist of the multidisciplinary medical center “Alexandria” will answer the questions.

– Hello, Alexey Alexandrovich. The first question concerns babies. How do parents know if their child has ear pain?

– It all depends on the age of the child. The younger the child, the more difficult it is to determine the cause of his anxiety. In children under one year old, general anxiety without local symptoms, sleep disturbances, crying, and decreased appetite are more pronounced. Sometimes the child reaches with his hand to his ear, shrugs his shoulder from the sore side, there may be a sudden startle of the child.From 1 to 3 years old, if the child already knows how to speak or at least understands you, then he will be able to communicate his concerns or show the place that worries him: touch with his hand, scratch. The ENT doctor will tell you exactly about the condition of your child’s ears after the examination.

– External, middle, internal otitis media – what’s the difference?

– Our auditory analyzer consists of three sections: the outer ear (auricle, the external auditory canal (up to the eardrum)), the middle ear (the tympanic cavity with the ossicles), and the inner ear (labyrinth and cochlea).Otitis media, depending on localization, are accompanied by pain in the ear and ear region, fever, deterioration in general condition, hearing loss. In severe cases, discharge from the ear, dizziness, and coordination problems are possible. Otitis externa is usually associated with improper ear hygiene, water ingress from public bodies of water, when an infection is introduced into the ear canal, or injury by a foreign body. It is manifested by pain in the external auditory canal and the ear region, a feeling of ear congestion, there may be discharge from the ear, an increase in body temperature.

Up to 30% of ear diseases are caused by otitis media. Most often children under 5 years old suffer from it due to the anatomical features of the structure of the ear (short and wide Eustachian tube, loose mucous membrane). Otitis media is divided into several subtypes, depending on the degree of development of the inflammatory process (catarrhal, exudative, purulent). The patient has a feeling of ear congestion, tinnitus, hearing loss. In severe forms, there is a significant increase in body temperature, severe pain in the ear, headaches, general weakness, and discharge from the ear (serous, purulent) is possible.

As for inflammation of the inner ear, it occurs if otitis media is not treated. The infection enters the inner ear and provokes the development of labyrinthitis. In addition to pain, fever, patients experience imbalance, nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

– Exudative otitis media – what is it and how to treat it?

– Exudative otitis media is a non-suppurative disease characterized by the accumulation of exudate in the tympanic cavity.One of the causes of the disease is a violation of the ventilation function of the auditory tube, which leads to the appearance of negative pressure in the tympanic cavity. For diagnostics, otomicroscopy is performed – a study to determine the condition of the tympanic membrane, audiometry – to determine the type and degree of hearing loss, as well as tympanometry – to determine the level of mobility of the membrane. The initial forms of exudative otitis media are amenable to drug treatment. According to the indications, physiotherapy is prescribed, blowing the auditory tube, antibacterial therapy.With a protracted course, severe hearing loss and lack of effect from therapy, surgical treatment is prescribed. Exudative otitis media is a very insidious disease, since if untreated, adhesions in the tympanic cavity may occur, persistent hearing loss may develop, and in the most advanced cases, deafness. The consequences of exudative otitis media can be adhesive otitis media. Both diseases often result in hearing loss.

– Let’s talk about first aid at home.What can not be done with otitis media?

– If you suspect otitis media, you should definitely consult a doctor (preferably an ENT doctor). Only a doctor will be able to diagnose and prescribe medication in accordance with the degree of otitis media. But it happens that the ears begin to hurt unexpectedly: in the evening or at night, on a weekend, on the road, at the dacha, when there is no way to quickly come to the reception. And the ear pain haunts. It is enough to take an anesthetic (nurofen, paracetamol) and drip vasoconstrictor drops (nasivin, xylene) into the nose.The compress will temporarily relieve pain, but it will not cure. You also need to remember that if there is discharge from the ear, then the warming compress is strictly prohibited!

Do not clean your ears with a cotton swab or other objects, remove foreign objects from your ear on your own. Also, you can not interrupt treatment before the date indicated by the doctor, despite the fact that the pain has passed. Untreated otitis media can become chronic and lead to partial or complete hearing loss.

– Is it possible to cure chronic otitis media?

– Chronic otitis media is an inflammatory process in the ear that is associated with persistent perforation (hole) of the membrane.In the presence of a defect in the membrane, the infection freely penetrates into the middle ear. Chronic otitis media is manifested by persistent hearing loss and periodic discharge from the ear. Chronic otitis media must be treated without fail, with untimely treatment, it can lead to purulent complications – abscess, meningitis, sepsis, etc., since the focus of purulent inflammation is located very close to the brain, large vessels and nerves. Chronic otitis media leads to purulent exacerbations, hearing loss and significantly disrupts the quality of life – it is necessary to constantly avoid getting water into the ear (when washing, bathing), you can not dive, any cold can lead to an exacerbation.If the membrane is damaged, flare-ups will continue. A simple perforation of the membrane causes recurrent inflammation of the ear, which over time can damage the auditory nerve, which cannot be repaired. Chronic otitis media can be complicated by cholesteatoma, which destroys the middle and inner ear, can lead to paresis of the facial nerve, dizziness, complete deafness, and purulent intracranial complications. The use of drops is a way to relieve exacerbation of otitis media, to stop the discharge for a while.Sometimes, with a decrease in hearing with the development of an adhesive process in the middle ear, impaired mobility of the auditory ossicles, to improve hearing, patients install themselves hearing aids. But the real treatment is an operation: removal of adhesions, sanitation (improvement) of the tympanic cavity, closure of the perforation of the membrane – creating anew a natural barrier for infection to enter the ear. The operation allows you to get rid of suppuration, restore hearing and improve the quality of life, not limit yourself and live fully.