It can bring about a significant level of discomfort, even pain, and can disrupt your day-to-day activities. This feeling of fullness, like your ears are constantly plugged, might also lead to other symptoms, such as hearing loss, tinnitus, or dizziness. At Louisiana ENT Specialists, we recognize the severity of this issue and how it can negatively affect your quality of life. 

What causes ear pressure?

Ear pressure can originate from various factors, each leading to different levels of discomfort. Some common causes include:

  • Infections: Both middle ear (otitis media) and outer ear (otitis externa) infections can result in ear pressure, often accompanied by additional symptoms like fluid discharge or hearing difficulties.
  • Earwax accumulation: An excessive buildup of earwax can trigger pressure by obstructing the ear canal.
  • Swimmer’s ear: Extended exposure to water in the ear canal can lead to swimmer’s ear. This condition is characterized by inflammation and pressure in the ear.
  • Eardrum damage: A ruptured eardrum, often resulting from trauma or infection, can cause intense pressure and potential hearing loss.
  • Foreign objects: Particularly common in children, foreign objects lodged in the ear can create pressure and discomfort.
  • Sinus issues: Sinus infections can cause a feeling of pressure that extends to the ears.
  • Dental complications: Certain dental issues, like tooth infections, can occasionally cause referred pressure and discomfort in the ear.
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Why do I get ear pressure at different altitudes?

The primary role of the Eustachian tube is to equalize the pressure in the middle ear with the air pressure in the environment. When you’re at sea level, the pressure inside your ears is usually the same as the air pressure outside your body. However, when you ascend or descend rapidly - such as when taking off in an airplane or diving underwater - the external air pressure changes faster than the pressure in your middle ear can adjust.

This imbalance creates a pressure differential, leading to the sensation of “fullness” or pain in the ears. If the Eustachian tubes are functioning properly, they open to let a small amount of air reach the middle ear and balance the pressure. But if they’re blocked or not functioning correctly - because of a cold, allergies, sinusitis, or other conditions - they may not be able to equalize the pressure promptly, leading to discomfort or pain.

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When should you seek medical assistance for ear pressure?

Persistent ear pressure can sometimes indicate a more severe health concern. It’s crucial to seek medical attention if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Persistent or worsening pressure in your ear
  • Fluid discharge from your ear
  • General symptoms of illness such as fever
  • A noticeable decline in your hearing abilities
  • Existing health conditions, like diabetes or a compromised immune system
  • If a child under two years of age is experiencing ear pressure.

Diagnosis of ear pressure

At Louisiana ENT Specialists, we employ a meticulous and thorough approach to diagnosing the causes of ear pressure. Our skilled otolaryngologists (ENT specialists) conduct a comprehensive evaluation that may involve:

Physical examination

A detailed review of your medical history and symptoms.

Otoscopic evaluation

Using an otoscope, the specialist examines the ear canal and eardrum for signs of infection, earwax buildup, or other abnormalities.

Hearing assessments

Audiometric tests might be conducted to evaluate your hearing capabilities.

Imaging studies

In certain cases, a CT scan or MRI may be suggested for a more detailed look at the ear’s internal structures.

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Ear pressure treatment options

We tailor our treatments to address the specific cause of your ear pressure. Our treatment methods may include:


Depending on the root cause, you may be prescribed antibiotics, pain relievers, or ear drops.

Earwax removal

Our specialists can safely clear the blockage if excessive earwax is causing the pressure.

Infection management

Appropriate treatments, often antibiotics, will be given for ear infections.

Ear protection advice

We provide tips on safeguarding your ears against future discomfort, such as swimmer’s ear.

Surgical interventions

Surgical procedures may be necessary for cases involving eardrum damage or other structural abnormalities.

Why choose Louisiana ENT Specialists for ear pressure?

Choosing Louisiana ENT Specialists for your ear pressure concerns means choosing a premier network of ENT providers who are dedicated to delivering the highest quality medical and surgical care. As the largest group of independent ENT physicians in Louisiana, our shared goal of excellence and outstanding company culture sets us apart.

Our exceptional team of ENT specialists caters to patients of all ages, providing care with professionalism and compassion. Our extensive experience, convenient same-day appointments, and friendly staff ensure an exemplary patient experience tailored to your unique needs.

With over 45 years of service, Louisiana ENT Specialists has grown into a nationally recognized network expanding across Louisiana, boasting over 25 physicians and specialists across six locations. At Louisiana ENT Specialists, we prioritize a patient-first philosophy, taking all the time needed to find the best treatment.

With 6 convenient locations around the Louisiana area, we're never far away.

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