A 30-year-old member asked:

What exactly does it mean when you are getting a cold and can hear a bubble-poping/ running water sound in the ear?

2 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Danny Proffitt
Family Medicine 45 years experience
Tubes stopped up: The eustachian tube ventillates and equalizes the pressure in the middle ear. With a cold, this tube swells and is irritated and does not work as well. You have build-up of pressure in the middle ear and then the pressure releases. You hear bubbles, pops, and snaps. It should go away with resolution of the cold. Sometimes stays longer and you have to be seen.
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Dr. Phil Zapanta
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 23 years experience
If this continues to be a problem for you, you can try using a oral decongestant or a nasal spray decongestant. This will help decrease swelling in the eustachian tube and eventually normalize the pressure in your ears. If this doesn't work, you should see your PCP and possibly an ENT.
Dec 27, 2011
Dr. Alexander Gorup
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 31 years experience
Maybe good: Popping may be a sign that air is getting into your middle ear. That would be a positive development.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Feb 8, 2021


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