Symptom Definition

  1. Sudden onset of muffled hearing
  2. Crackling or popping noises in the ear
  3. A stuffy, full sensation in the ear
  4. No ear pain
  5. Unusual complaint until after age 4 or 5 years
  6. Common causes: blockage of ear tube (eustachian tube) during nose allergies, a cold or airplane/mountain travel

See More Appropriate Topic If

  1. COLD is also present
  2. HAY FEVER is also present
  3. EAR DISCHARGE OR DRAINAGE is also present

Call Your Doctor within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If

  1. You think your child needs to be seen
  2. Earache
  3. Possible foreign body in ear canal
  4. Ear congestion lasts > 48 hours

Call Your Doctor during Weekday Office Hours If

  1. You have other questions or concerns

Parent Care at Home If

  1. Ear congestion (probably from blocked eustachian tube) and you don't think your child needs to be seen

Home Care Advice for Ear Congestion

  1. More Chewing and Swallowing: Have your child chew gum if over age 4. Swallow water while the nose is pinched closed.
  2. Decongestant Nasal Spray: If chewing doesn't help after 1 or 2 hours, use a long-acting decongestant nasal spray. You can ask your pharmacist to recommend a brand. Don't use more than 5 days.
  3. Antihistamines: If your child has hay fever or other allergies, give an antihistamine
  4. Expected Course: The symptoms usually clear within 2 days (48 hours) with treatment. It's safe for your child to swim.
  5. Prevention for Airplane/Mountain Travel
  • Swallow during descent using a pacifier or fluids
  • Children > age 4 can chew on gum during descent
  • Yawning also can open the middle ear
  1. Call Your Doctor If
  • Your child becomes worse or develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms
  • Ear congestion lasts > 48 hours
  • Ear pain occurs