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Why Do I Wake Up Every Morning With Clogged Ears?

If you've been wondering why your ears always feel clogged each morning when you wake up, several factors may be at play. Here, Dr. Conrad McCutcheon lists the possible reasons your ears are clogged and describes how the team at Memorial Village Sinus and Hearing in Houston, Texas, can help.

You have earwax buildup

Earwax is a natural substance that helps protect your ears from your germs. However, an excess of earwax can accumulate and cause a feeling of clogged ears. This buildup may be more noticeable after a night's sleep, showering, or washing your hair. It can, however, occur at any time.

In some cases, heavy buildup can also contribute to conductive hearing loss. In these cases, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recommends removing earwax only when it causes issues like clogged sensations and muffled hearing loss.

Safety tip: Never stick foreign items into your ears in an attempt to remove your own earwax.

You have allergies and congestion

Allergies could be a culprit. Dust mites, pet dander, or pollen in your bedroom might be triggering an allergic response, and allergy-related congestion can extend to your ears. This congestion can be more noticeable in the morning.

Identify and minimize potential allergens in your sleeping environment. Consider using hypoallergenic bedding and regularly cleaning your bedroom. Dr. McCutcheon may recommend allergy testing (to confirm your specific allergens) as well as medication. Sublingual allergy drops which are very safe and convenient to use, are also available at Memorial Village Sinus and Hearing. 

You have underlying sinus issues

Your ears, nose, and throat are connected, so an issue in your sinuses, for instance, can lead to  ear problems. When you lie down to sleep, sinus drainage may be less effective, which causes fluids to accumulate in your ear canal. This can result in a sensation of fullness, fluid collecting in the ear,  or possibly even an ear infection.

Use saline nasal sprays or consider a humidifier in your bedroom to alleviate sinus congestion.

You’ve recently changed elevations

If you live in an area with significant changes in elevation or you frequently travel to such places, your ears may struggle to equalize pressure during the night and lead to a feeling of obstructed ears in the morning.

Tip: If changes in elevation are a concern, practice techniques like swallowing or yawning to help equalize ear pressure.

You have too much moisture in your ears

Excess moisture in the ear, whether from showering before bed or sweating during the night, can contribute to a clogged feeling. This moisture may remain trapped in the ear canal, especially if you use earplugs. This can often be ameliorated by tilting the head to the affected side, grasping your ear with your thumb and forefinger, pulling your ear towards the top and back of your head, using the palm of your hand over the ear canal and creating suction effect by pushing in and out, and possibly jumping up and down as well.

You have an underlying ear condition

Certain medical conditions, such as eustachian tube dysfunction or ear infections, can result in persistent ear congestion. If you experience other symptoms or the problem persists, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. McCutcheon. 

Get help for stopped up ears

Just as there are many potential causes for a sensation of fullness in the ears, there are also many solutions. Depending on the source of your clogged ears, Dr. McCutcheon may suggest:

In addition, Dr. Lippeatt, our expert audiologist, will perform a comprehensive testing of your ear pressures, ear cellular function, and hearing to correct or prevent a hearing loss.

If you’re waking up with clogged ears day after day, don’t brush it off. Call Memorial Village Sinus and Hearing at 281-822-3777 to explore your potential remedies. You can also request an appointment at our Houston, Texas, office by clicking the link on this website.

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