Did you know that one of the most common ENT problems in Singapore is that of blocked nose with blocked ear symptoms? When your nose becomes blocked with lots of trapped secretions or mucus discharge, further swelling of the soft tissue inside your nose tends to occur, making the nasal congestion even worse. This may occur after a bad cold or bout of the flu but can also commonly happen during a flare-up of your nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis) and/or sinus infections.
You may already suffer from a blocked nose caused by a deviated nasal septum. The septum is a plate of bone and cartilage which divides your left and right nasal passages. If your nasal septum is deviated, then crooked spurs and curves of bone may protrude out into your nasal passages, making them narrower, hence affecting the airflow entering each nasal passage. A common second factor causing blocked nose symptoms is the presence of enlarged swollen turbinates, the so-called “sausages”of the nose. The turbinates normally play an important role in warming and humidifying the air entering your nasal passages but sometimes, they become overly sensitised and tend to swell up all the time, leading to a persistently blocked nose. Sometimes, these symptoms may be affected by changes in position, so turbinate swelling may feel worse upon lying down, or during exercise when the blood flow to the nose increases physiologically.
Your ears often feel blocked when your nose is already blocked because the nasal passages are joined to the space behind your eardrums, via the Eustachian pressure tubes. The Eustachian pressure tubes are highly specialised structures which are normally shut at rest but need to open at the right moment to equalise the pressures at either end (the nasal opening and the ear opening). Otherwise, there may be problems with either feeling your ears are blocked if the pressure tubes stay closed (Eustachian tube dysfunction) or less commonly, hearing echoey distorted sounds including internal breathing noises, if the Eustachian tubes stay open for too long (patulous Eustachian tube). So yes, the Eustachian pressure tubes are very important in maintaining the delicate balance between your nose and eardrums.
Sometimes, of course, the ears and nose may become blocked due to growths forming inside your nose. Although the majority tend to be benign or non-cancerous, such as nasal polyps, some tumours which can grow at the back of the nose to block off the Eustachian pressure tubes are malignant. So if your problems of blocked nose and blocked ears don’t seem to improve, you should see an experienced Ear Nose Throat specialist in Singapore to investigate your nasal congestion promptly.
Here are Dr Annabelle’s 5 helpful tips to relieve your blocked nose and blocked ear problems:
- Try spraying Afrin or Iliadin nasal sprays to relieve nasal congestion, which may help to open up your Eustachian pressure tubes to your ears
- Try taking some antihistamine medication such as Telfast or Zyrtec to help alleviate your blocked runny nose.
- Try applying over-the-counter eardrops to soften any underlying impacted earwax before you see your ENT specialist as this will help make its removal much easier and more comfortable.
- Try steam inhalation by putting your head under a towel, over a bowl of hot water, and then breathing in deeply repeatedly. Adding some drops of aromatic or herbal oils to the water may help to open up the blocked nasal passages and sinuses.
- Try rinsing your blocked nose out with a nasal douche like Sinus rinse, which contains sea salt and baking soda to calm down the inflamed nose.
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