What Causes Stopped-Up Ears?

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    • When the ear canal becomes infected by bacteria, it can cause the ear canal--which is where the sound travels in and out--to become inflamed. With the tube inflamed, there is less room for the ear drum to vibrate and less area for the sound to travel and thus can cause the muffled feelings of a stopped-up ear. Ear infections are common, especially in children, and can be taken care of with antibiotics.

    Colds and Flus

    • A cold or flu reeks havoc on the body in many different ways, from sore throats to stuffed noses, but it can also cause hearing loss and stopped-up ears. When the body is ravaged by a cold and flu, it increases the production of fluids in the ears and nose. The fluid builds up in the ear and blocks the sound from reaching the ear drum and prevents the ear drum from vibrating properly.

    Ear Wax

    • Ear wax is the body's natural defense for the ear, trapping in dirt and other particles before they can make their way into the inner ear. Normally, this wax gradually makes its way out of the ear, but sometimes it can't make it out and builds up. This buildup can cause the stopped-up ear sensation and make sounds muffled. Do not use cotton swabs to remove ear wax as this may actually cause the wax to be pushed deeper into the ear canal. Instead, use an ear wax removal kit that can be purchased at most drug stores.

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