Blocked Ear

Rinse and Spray

Blocked Eustachian tubes can cause pain, hearing difficulties and a feeling of fullness in the ears.

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The Eustachian tubes are small tubes that run between the middle ears and the upper throat. They are responsible for equalizing ear pressure and draining fluid from the middle ear (the part of the ear behind the eardrum). The Eustachian tubes are usually closed except for when you chew, swallow, or yawn.

Blocked Eustachian tubes, referred to as Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), can cause pain, hearing difficulties and a feeling of fullness in the ears.

Depending on the cause, it may resolve on its own, or through using a hypertonic saline nasal spray like Kuraflo. Severe or recurring cases may require a visit to the doctor.

The most common causes are allergies and illnesses like the common cold which may cause the Eustachian tubes to become inflamed or clogged with mucus. People with sinus infections are more likely to develop plugged Eustachian tubes.  Altitude changes can also cause problems with your ears.

Symptoms include

  • Feeling of fullness in the ears
  • Blocked or plugged ears
  • Sudden loss of hearing
  • Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
  • Clicking or popping sounds
  • Scratchy feelings in the ears
  • Ear pain

The length of time that ETD symptoms last depends on the initial cause. Symptoms from altitude changes, for example, may resolve once you get back to the altitude you’re used to. Illnesses and other causes of ETD may result in longer-lasting symptoms.


Ear drops will not work as the eardrum prevents anything administered through the ear canal from getting to the Eustachian tube which is situated BEHIND the eardrum.

  1. The Eustachian tube goes from your ear to the back of your nose so medication can be delivered through the nose to the ear.
  2. The nasal spray must be directed towards the Eustachian tube with the nozzle pointed toward your neck/ear.
  3. Bend your head down and look at the floor when you spray.
  4. Sniff as you spray but only hard enough to feel it in the back of the nose – not so hard that it use and goes straight down into your mouth.
  5. After spray, try to pop the ear every hour, by pinching the nose and blowing gently. This draws the spray into the Eustachian tube.  If you spray with the spray nozzle directed to the top of the head the spray will move into your sinuses, not your ears.

It may take up to four weeks for the ears to start feeling normal.

If this method fails, speak to your physician.