plugged ears from a sinus infection causes real trouble



Pardon what did you say? I’m sorry i’d ask you speak louder but my ears are on vacation.


That’s my new phrase nowadays and one that I use – oh at least a thousand times a day.  “Sorry what was that? I didn’t catch that. I didn’t hear what you said.”  In fact, I haven’t heard anything out of my right ear since before Christmas and I’ve tried everything.  I have plugged ears from a sinus infection.

It started when we all got the flu.  I knew right away it was going to turn into something worse for me, it always does.  I either get bronchitis or I get a sinus infection.  I was hoping for the bronchial thing, but no way in hell I was gonna get a Christmas wish like that.  Nope, the gods of sickness decided — sinus infection all the way.

So there I was over the holidays, feeling miserable, practically living in my pajama’s (not that) being sick had anything to do with it. Seems lately I’m always living in my pajama’s. Who needs clothes?  Right?  And I was trying to do everything I could to clear my sinuses and the water – feeling I had in my ear.

I tried hot compresses.

I tried a heating pad.

I tried strong cough candies.

I tried Vicks Vapor rub.

I put my ear over boiling water and hung my head there several times a day.

Nothing was working!


Finally I caved in and went to the medi-clinic here in Abbotsford. I ended up getting antibiotics.  I started taking them and finished taking them, and nope. Still my sinuses are blocked (somehow) even though now I can breath easier.  So back to the doctors I went.

This time the doctor gave me a nasal prescription.  Guess what?  It’s not working!  I’m ready to bust a cap in someone’s you know what. Not that I believe in violence, because I’m a mom – violence is terribly wrong.  But I cannot stand this anymore.

Today I woke up with the worse sinus headache ever!  The pain shot right through the back of my skull, toward the front of my face and into my eyes.  It was truly horrible, and for all those people who suffer from headaches (cause I don’t) on a regular basis.  I am bowing down to you and weeping for you and the pain you go through.  It’s absolutely horrible!

I don’t know what to do.  My doctor now says it could be months and months before I get in to see an ear, nose and throat specialist.  I don’t know if I can go that long without hearing.  I worry that the water he says is behind my ear drum might be causing permanent damage, and if it is. EVERYBODY IS FIRED!

I really do hate this. Not only is it affecting my ears, but I’m so damn tired lately. I feel sick, but most of the symptoms have gone away, except for the hearing thing.  Well — that and I’m friggin blowing my nose every two minutes for parts of the day and then other parts of the day I can breathe just fine.  It makes no sense to me.

I never understood (yes I took for granted) something as simple as being able to hear my kids laugh, cry or talk to me about their day.  I mean I can still kinda hear, but not great.  Mostly everyone is speaking and see their lips moving but NO SOUND.

What do you think? Any suggestions? Have you ever had a really bad sinus infection with plugged ears?

  • Ray

    I read through all of the replies and share the frustration of other posters. As this is a place to share, here goes. Earlier this summer I got a cold that turned into a sinus infection that I self treated with Mucinex Sinus medication because I was not in my homestate. At one point, the sinuses hurt so bad that I thought a dentist was required, alas, the pain went away. No symptons for awhile until I had my ears cleaned by an ENT doctor. After that procedure, all hell broke loose as all sound in my left ear was like being underwater. I went back to the ENT guy and he said it would clear up and my eardrum had slightly retracted and he wanted me to have a hearing test. A week passed, no improvement. I went to my PC to update and told him I was now experiencing constant post-nasal drip. I mentioned the hearing test and he said wait. The PC put me on prednisone, no improvment. Week three I went to another ENT guy who prescribed Afrin for three nights and a hearing test. A little, but not much improvement, so I went for the hearing test. Then I was told I had a moderate to severe hearing loss and might need hearing aids. I went back to my PC who now put me on Nasocort. The PC said hold off on the hearing aids. Meanwhile, I wondered about the various the rationale for a hearing test when I obvisously had a hearing loss from either a sinus condition or trauma from the ear cleaning. Where my problem persists is being in a noisy environment – my hearing gets stuffy and the surrounding noise is loud. Meanwhile, I have to concentrate on the face with whomever I’m talking with to be sure I get every word they say.

    Everyone tells me the healing process can be long (weeks and months), but I’m losing my patience. I know this problem is largely due to blocked eustachian tubes caused by some sinus issue (not allergies). I’ve decided to cut-out the over-the-counter nasal sprays as they just dry up the gunk more, thereby, not enabling me to blow out what’s stuck in my head. So, I’m now doing the nettie pot.

    I’ve almost given up on doctors as they don’t what to do about this issue. It’s so frustrating trying to pop my ears. As I was in a plane and landing yesterday, my ears self-poppped and I could hear like I use to four weeks ago. Unfortunately, when we landed I was back to stuffy ears.

    Sorry for the long winded post, but can someone give me an idea how long it takes to get back to normal?

    • Jodi

      It took me a very long time to heal, sorry for the bad news. I stopped using nasal sprays, and honestly kept putting my head and ears under water, allowing water to go up my nose, then spewing it out. I also demanded to see an ear nose and throat specialist. Each person is different, I know this, and honestly I still suffer from sinus infections and ear problems. It comes and goes.

  • john

    I had the clogged ear part….what fixed it is I went to the doctor and they did an ear drain…..they softly shoot warm water into the ear and it drains out all the crap that in your ear like wax and stuff that is blocking your ear drumbs

    • Cheyanne

      The only thing that worked for me too!

  • Lp

    Hi don’t steam your ears it will make it worse and DO NoT do all the home remedy crap sorry to say it will get worse. Sudafed over the counter to pharmacy works wonders it helps open sinus canals and drain fluid it’s the only meds that work. 2. Vitamin c vitamins 500/1000mg day. When you shower or get near steam plug you ear area softly with cotton or toilet paper to stop any more moisture to build up making the problem worse. Also put Vicks behind your ear and earlobe area to facilitate the swelling to go down so water can drain. Also everyday try blowdrying near your ear with warm hot air but not too close so you can feel it drying the inside sometimes this speeds up healing. I do that after every shower to prevent the issue.
    Qualifications: I have suffered ear and sinus infections my whole life after many quack doctors one suggested Sudafed and the blowdrying changed my life and severity of infections if taken as soon as you feel sickness come on then it can’t build. It will take a bit to heal maybe 2 weeks doing this but better then allowing total deftness to set in or permanent damage :) I actually have one ear gone now it’s been 3 days it’s finally getting a little better

  • Joyce

    Put some baking soda in warm warter and snort it up your nose. Wait a few seconds and blow do it 2or 3 times until it clears. Works great.

  • Andy

    Remedies for clogged ears after a sinus infection.

    1//neti pot …………………………………………………………Evening
    2//polysporin ear drops ………………………………..when ear clogged
    3//saline nasal spray …………………………………when dry nasal
    4//Nasalnex nasal spray………………………………,recommended when sinsus inf
    5//Advanced Nasal Strips ……………………………recommended night time
    6//cool mist humidifier………………………………..recommended
    7//Sudafed sinus+allergy…………………………….recommended 2 time daily
    8//sinus rinses a couple times a day ,no pot……..recommended every day

  • Salina Smith

    As I scrolled down reading evetyone’s post, I realised that I have tried everything in my power to unclog my nose, sinuses, and my left ear and nothing has worked..
    I lost all hearing in my left ear yesterday, and literally only have 40& hearing in my right, according to my ent. Well, I have 4 babies, and i really don’t want to miss hearing them specal.. I feel hopeless to geeting unclogged, So I can hear again.. And whats adding to this stress is that I have NO medical coverage. I could any and all advice, Thank in advance

    • Yolunda Harris

      I am sorry to hear/ no read about you going threw the same situation I am exspecially with the little ones I know first hand how you are feeling there is some programs out there one is state funded for persons needing health insurance. Hope all goes well.

  • caseydaniele

    I know that this post is old, however I was hoping to find some relief here.

    Last year I studied in Spain in roughly February/March I got quite sick. Initially it started with Strep Throat, I believe. After I finished the antibiotics I was prescribed I noticed myself feeling very tired. I would have on and off fevers and soar throats, but the congestion was incessant. I was constantly blowing my nose, yet it never cleared up. This lasted for months upon months. I took a plane trip to Portugal for a weekend, however prior to boarding the plane I took so decongestants hoping that it was help with the ear pressure and what not, to my dismay it didn’t work at all. I was stuck with extremely sore, “stuffed up” ears.

    The next few months the congestion got progressively worse. I saw a doctor and he said, “Oh, it is probably just the flu. Drink lots of fluid and rest up.”

    Finally in June it was time to come home. Which meant another treacherous plane ride. Only I had the opportunity to ascend and descend 6 times, yay. When I got home my mother took me to the doctors the very next day. The first doctor said it was a sinus infection and gave me antibiotics. After taking them I still wasn’t better, so I returned to see a different doctor. This time I was diagnosed with a sinus infection, an upper respiratory infection, allergic rhinitis, and mononucleosis. Which explains why everything lasted about 8-9 months.

    For the most part I am better, what brought me here though is my ears. Since having been sick my ears still do not feel normal. They always feel “poppable” or like there is something wrong with the pressure inside. I am seeking relief, I will take any and all suggestions.


    P.S. Sorry for the rant, I just wanted to be as thorough as possible for the best possible suggestions.

    • Jodi

      Hey Casey, it took a long time for my sinus infection to heal and for my ears to get back to normal. I used polysporne ear drops regularly which helped a lot, and just kept using saline for my nose and congestion. Each person is different. I’m glad you got a proper diagnosis, and wish you well.

  • Amy

    Hey Jodi , I can see this quite an old post , but i couldnt help notice from the comments that you dealt with this for a long spurt of time which sounds horribly stressful and frustrating .. My son ended up with the flu about 4 weeks ago it lasted for about a week and a half and then turned into an ear infection like pain and stuffyness for a few days and then went away , around the same time he got over it I ended up with the flu as well , it’s been 2 weeks and it isnt getting better and for about 5 days now i can barely hear anything! when it first started with my ears it was very painful but now my ears dont hurt i just cant hear anything and my face and head are in the worst pain i’ve ever felt.. I know its my sinuses clogging them but nothing seems to be helping , and now reading everything here I’m hoping i dont end up with permanent damage.. I wanted to ask if you’re still dealing with this or if you did end up finding help??

    • Jodi

      You know what it took months and months for it go away. I kept using saline, using hot water bottles, standing under showers, it was truly awful. I even had seizures from my sinuses

  • priyanka

    Try 3 drops of shadbindu oil in each nostril at night before goingto bed. One month continuously…its better than neti….

  • Tasha Murphy

    Although this is an older post, thought I would share in hopes of helping anyone dealing with the misery of a clogged ear. Two weeks ago, I flew home from a trip after I had been experiencing post nasal drip and sinus issues for several days. Got home, went to bed with a ringing in my ear and woke up with a stuffed up, throbbing right ear. Over the next week this was accompanied by muffled hearing from outside noises and super loud internal noises (eating food??? Forget about hearing anything else), more throbbing pain, dizziness, nausea and pressure in the ear.I tried swimmers ear, popping my ears, taking decongestants, hot compress, hot shower, laying with the ear down, tilting my head and jumping on my right foot (one will do anything in desperation). Nothing worked!!! I did enjoy one day of relief after heading to the mountains to ski, only to wake th next morning with my symptoms back times 10!!! I found relief after about ten days due to the following: switching from a nasal decongestant to a combo decongestant/antihistamine, two days of pumping fluids, three sessions of lymphatic massage (YouTube it, I found one specific to ear drainage) and a dinner of hot and sour soup. Not sure if it was the combo of all the above or what, but when the liquid finally came out it felt as though I squeezed, massaged or willed the fluid out of my ear. Took almost another week and ny normal hearing returned. Hope this treatment works for some one else, I wouldn't wish that feeling on my worst enemy and hope I don't ever have to go through it again.. Ugh!!

  • Melissa

    Hi Jodi,

    I know this is old, but I thought if share my experience too. I had a similar thing happen to me. Out of nowhere my left ear began to feel stuffy, with increasing pressure as the day went on. It felt clogged & I couldn't hear right. It later began to subside, and after a couple hours I barely noticed anything. A couple days later I started getting tinnitus, alternating every other day or so with stuffiness. Was prescribed generic Flonase, then an anti-allergy. The stuffiness (for the most part) is gone, but the humming tinnitus is basically a constant (I'm not even 30!!). :( It's been a year now, and I've had 1 stuffy-ear flare up, right after my nose ran for a day, so I'm certain they're related. Hoping to try a neti pot soon.

  • Lu @

    I know this is an old post, but I just have to comment. I went through something similar a year ago. I felt like I was under water, I could barely hear people. The strange thing is that my own voice was deafening to me… I know, weird. The pressure and headaches made me want to bust a cap in someone's you know what too 😉

    I got an appointment with an ENT and on my way, I was convinced I was going deaf. He checked my ears out and they were perfect. "Nuh uh!" I told him, because I could barely hear! This is the gross part… he stuck a little camera up my nose and told me I was severely congested and this is what was affecting my ears. I was skeptical because I didn't feel congested.

    He wrote me a prescription for a nasal spray, but suggested I try the neti pot first. It's a tea pot looking thing where you pretty much wash your sinuses with salt water. You pour the solution in one nose, it washes out your sinuses and comes out the other nose. You can get it at any drug store.

    INSTANT RELIEF! I could hear! My headaches were gone.

    This may not be the same for you, but your symptoms sound very much like mine. I hope you're feeling better :)

    • Jodi

      I am still struggling. I will try a nettie pot :) Many people suggest them, and I totally appreciate you stopping by and sharing your story. Anything is worth a try to help my sinuses get some relief. They act up all the time, so I'll give anything a go. Thanks!

  • Cas

    Vitamin C before you go to sleep and Magnisium in the morning. It must be separate. Worst feeling in the word. After 6 months of agony I finally found a recipe that worked.

    • Tammy

      Well, my hearing is back in my right ear, but still not what it used to be. My doctor put a tube in it about a month ago. I have to go on the 28 th to have it removed to see if my ear will eventually drain naturally. If it doesn't I might need to get permanent tubes. Tammy

  • sameera


    I have had my right ear blocked for a few days now. My symptoms sound similar to yours, been blowing my nose continuously throughout the day as well. My doc prescribed me Nasalnex nasal spray, advil, and claratin cold and sinus. Been using them for two days now and no improvement! Just wondering if you ended up having any luck with your situation, and if you found anything that worked to clear the ears..


    • Jodi Shaw

      Other than surgery which I am waiting to hear from ENT specialist not much relief has been found. I'm deaf now in my right ear which sucks but my sinuses are so blocked.

    • Tammy


      I started out with a sinus and broncial infecton 2 weeks ago. I went to the er because I couldn't hear out of my right ear and it was painful. Ihave two days left of antibiotics and my ear is still plugged, I feel deaf in this ear. I went to an ear doctor he gave me a hearing test looked in my ear and then said "see you in a month" He was no help whatsoever. I don't think that I can put up with thisfor another month. Iwas trying to find some home remedies, since my doctor doesn't seem to think it's a big deal.

    • Jodi Shaw

      Sorry Tammy you are suffering. I know it's no fun. I use saline as much as I can as it helps along with a pot of hot water on the stove and put my face over it and breathe in.

  • Pat O 'Connell

    Im having the same problem.Ive been sick with cold and sinus infection ,plugged ears since New Years.The worst part is the doctors don't seem to care or believe how much pain this is causing.In two weeks Im suppose to fly from Vncouver to L.A. to catch a ship heading to Hawaii for two weeks.And apparently you can't or shouldn't fly with plugged ears.What the hell am I suppose to do?Miss out on a very nice cruise because of my ears seems silly,my doctor keeps telling me there's nothing more to do but wait.What If they never open?Looking for a miracle !A good ear ,nose,and throat doctor would be nice.

  • Angela

    I have been having the same problem since the beginning of December, with ear pain. Last month I finally went to the clinic. The Doctor gave me a nasal steroid, wish has helped so much. Before I couldn't blow my nose and everything was all backed up. Now I am getting relief and so are my ears. The doctor recommended a sinus rinse as well, such as the neti pot or nasal flow. Also I know cigarette smoke will effect sinuses big time. I am 24 days smoke free today and I notice a big difference. Hope this helps and good luck.

  • Marie

    I have been having the very same problem with my ears for two weeks. I've seen plenty of doctors in the past about my allergies and sinuses. There is nothing much they can do. You'll have to ride it out. That is what I am doing. Take an over the counter drug like Actifed and follow the directions. I'm also taking Ibupofen as directed. If your feeling really sick, have your doctor check you out for Chronic Fatigue.

  • Lindsy

    Hey there! I found your site because I am having the same issue with clogged ears after a sinus infection. I'm wondering if you found any remedies?? If you did – please share!! :-) Thanks!
    Lindsy recently posted..Two years ago.

    • Jodi Shaw

      I am waiting to see Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, no doctor wants to help me. I did find some relief sucking on cough candies and hanging my ear over a pot of hot water on the stove.

  • Lindsy

    Hey there! I found your site after a search due to the same clogged ear issue I am having. I'm wondering if you found a remedy??? If you did – please share! :-) Thanks!

  • Anita Yancey

    I get ear and sinus infections all the time. But it has now been quite awhile since I had one. I started using Breath Right Advanced Nasal Strips when I sleep, they seem to open up my nose and it lets the fluid in my ears drain. The doctor also told me to run a cool mist humidifier in the bedroom every night, and it helps. You might also go the pharmacy and ask for Sudafed, it really helps to open the ears and make them drain.

  • Glogirl

    I've had numerous sinus infections and they always plug up my ears. Colds always plug up my ears too. I have found that doing sinus rinses a couple times a day (the one with the squirt bottle, not tea pot style) really seems to help. They will irrigate your sinuses and hopefully clear them out which will allow your ears to open up. It's worth a try if you haven't tried it yet.

  • karen M

    Try Garlic, my kids used to get ear and sinus infection every month.. along with allergies.. I finally got them off their allergy shots with garlic. I take 4-6 a day myself to keep the sinus away, it is loaded with vitamin B's and you can not overdose on it. It will help you with energy and if you drink a lot of caffeine drinks you body uses up the vitamin B's and this is a good way to keep your body stored with them.. Don't get the Garlique or store brands.. go to health food store and get the Kryolic brand, you will not smell in on your breath or burp the garlic.. and very easy on the tummy. I give the little ones 1-2 daily, depending on if the allergies are acting up.l

    • Jodi Shaw

      I have never heard of that. Move over garlic here I come lol :)

  • Angel

    Find a local chiropracter. They are trained not just for spines but every area of the body. Mine will do a 'massage' on my face and skull that loosens the sinus passages. Be prepared though. I went to him after nearly 2 months of suffering from a sinus infection that did what yours is doing. Round after round of antibiotics failed over and over. He began at the base of my skull with tapping and massaging the passages we often ignore, working his way to my face. He warned me that when it finally let loose I would need to be somewhere stable and safe. I was sitting in the passenger side of the van as my husband ran in to leave his work an excuse. Suddenly I felt as if someone dumped a whole gallon of water in my face. I grabbed a tissue and blew ONE SIDE of my nose. That was all it took, my sinuses literally DUMPED in that one good blow and the van began to move without me. I did that over and over for the next hour and then it was done and so was the sinus infection. Plenty of water and a chiropracter..

    • Jodi Shaw

      Thank you so much Angel for those suggestions. I don't have the money to go see a chiropracter, though I will look into it.