ZocdocAnswersDo I have an ear infection?

Question

Do I have an ear infection?

Right ear has been plugged for a couple weeks. No pain, but having trouble hearing. How can I clear it out? Is my ear infected?

Answer

I am happy to give you my best educated guess as to what might be going on. This is no substitution for a doctors visit however, and I would recommend going to an otolaryngologists (ENT...Ear Nose Throat) office to be examined. I think that you may be suffering from something called eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). The eustachian tube is a small collapsible tube that runs from the back of your nose to your middle ear. It functions normally to bring air into the middle ear space behind the ear drum to equalize the pressure in the middle ear (inside of the ear drum) with the external auditory canal (outside the ear drum). This is usually experienced with elevation change such as a flight, or drive through the mountains (the "pop" heard is the equalizing of the pressure). The reason I suspect this in your case is that you have no pain, I presume no drainage (since you didn't mention it), and you also didn't mention ringing or tinnitus. There are other processes that can give you this sensation (like sudden hearing loss), which is why you should go see an ENT and get checked out. They will likely order an audiogram (hearing test) while you are there. I hope that this is helpful and I wish you all the best.

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