There are a number of causes of clogged ears, including excess ear wax buildup, swimmer’s ear (otitis externa, due to water buildup inside the outer ear canal), or a rare type of tumor (acoustic neuroma) that grows around the acoustic nerve. However, chronic ear infections (otitis media, due to excess fluid and swelling in the eardrum and Eustachian tube) are, by far, the most common cause of clogged ears. Furthermore, as any parent knows, young children are far more susceptible than adults to ear infections with clogged ears. Chronic ear infections in children may lead to balance problems, learning problems due to an inability to hear, and partial or complete hearing loss.
Standard Treatments for Clogged Ears
There are a number of over the counter drops that can soften ear wax for easy removal by rinsing the ear out with warm water. Cotton swabs are generally not recommended for removing ear wax, as they will only compress the ear wax further into the ear. Swimmer’s ear is easily treated by tilting the head to either side to let the water drain out. Gentle pressure can be applied to the outer ear to build up a vacuum, which will also remove excess water. Patients with acoustic neuromas will most likely need surgery to correct the problem. Antibiotics are the most common treatment for clogged ears due to chronic ear infections.
However, medications may not be recommended for very young children. The most common recommended treatment for children involves tubes placed into the ears to drain excess fluid. However, these tubes can increase chances of infections. In addition, the tubes need to be periodically replaced, particularly as the child is growing.
Chiropractic Adjustments for Clogged Ears
Dr. Horst will usually begin by feeling around the neck and upper spine for any misalignment of the vertebrae. If the vertebrae of the upper spine or neck are not in alignment, they may be placing pressure on the nerves or causing tension in the body. Releasing pressure on the nerves and surrounding structures of the auditory system will help fluid drain out of the middle and inner ear, thereby allowing the body to fight off any ear infection that may be causing clogged ears. In essence, chiropractic adjustments will not actually cure ear infections but instead remove impediments to the body’s own natural ability to heal itself and unclog the ears.
Most research on chiropractic treatment for clogged ears due to otitis media has focused on children. One study of 46 children, ages 5 and under, found that 93 percent of all cases were improved following chiropractic treatment. Of these, 75 percent showed improvement within 10 days and 43 percent improved after only one or two chiropractic treatment sessions.
Clogged ears can be very painful and frustrating. If left untreated, they can lead to even more serious conditions. Fortunately, chiropractic care can offer both adults and children a safe, effective, non-invasive treatment for clogged ears. To schedule an appointment, contact Horst Chiropractic.