Q: I awoke during the night to what feels like a partially blocked left ear, similar to water in ear, along with a gurgling or bubbling sensation and a slight itch. The symptoms continue this morning, with no issue in my right ear. What is this?
A: You most likely have a Eustachian tube block. This tube connects the ear to the nose. Airplane travel or a cold can cause blockage of the tube, leading to a collection of fluid in the ear. This is usually self-resolving in most cases.
Take antihistamines like Alavert 10mg (over the counter), one tab daily. Or try Otrivin nasal drops -- two drops thrice daily.
Menthol steam inhalation can also be used. Add menthol salts (available OTC) to a bowl of steaming water and inhale the steam two-three times daily. This will relieve the congestion. Or try the Vlasalva Maneuver: Take a deep breath, purse your lips, and then swallow. This will force air into the ears. Do this as often as possible.
If the symptoms persist beyond 3 or 4 days, see an ENT for this. Tests like an Impedance Audiometry are needed for this.
-- Answer from Dr. P. Jyoti, a physician on JustAnswer.
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