Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why am I feeling pressure in my ears?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy am I feeling pressure in my ears?


Randomly I'll feel really bad pressure in my ears. It's like they are going to pop but then they don't. Sometimes I pop them on my own to relieve the pressure. Is this bad for my ears? What is causing the pressure in the first place?


It sounds like you are experiencing some eustachian tube dysfunction. Briefly, the eustachian tubes are small tubes that connect the inside of the ear behind the ear drum to the back of the throat. These tubes work by equalizing pressure between the throat and the space behind the ear drum. When the eustachian tubes become swollen or inflamed, the pressure does not equalize easily, leading to this sensation of fluid, pressure, or pain in the ears. There are many causes of eustachian tube dysfunction. It commonly occurs in the setting of a viral infection, such as a sore throat or a cold virus infection. As the infection subsides, the eustachian tubes will open back up again and start working normally. Similarly, allergies are a common cause of eustachian tube dysfunction. When the nasal line becomes inflamed and congested due to allergies, this can block the eustachian tubes. You should start by seeing your primary care doctor. They will be able to confirm the diagnosis of eustachian tube dysfunction, and they will help you to identify the cause of the dysfunction. Often simple medications, such as anti allergy medications, can be very helpful at opening the tubes back up and relieving the symptoms.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.