How to handle summertime ear, nose, and throat problems

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Ever notice how yawning or swallowing can help relieve the pressure when ears are popping?

How about when a stuffy nose drains down the back of the throat?

The ears, nose, and throat are an interconnected trio. They function as one system and support each other. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong with one of the parts, it can affect the others as well. For example, when a sinus infection leads to an ear infection.

There are some summertime situations that can cause ear, nose and throat problems. These tips can help people deal with them:

Concert-induced tinnitus

Summer is a great time to listen to live music and enjoy outdoor concerts. However, depending on where the seat is, some concert-goers could wake up the next day still hearing reverberation – tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a condition where people hear a ringing or buzzing noise that doesn’t have an external cause. When people spend time near loud noise, it can cause tinnitus. There are other causes of tinnitus, so the condition should be evaluated by a physician.

Typically, tinnitus will disappear after two or three days. If it doesn’t, it may be because the ears are permanently damaged. 

One thing that could help reduce the ringing of tinnitus is listening to white noise – things like ocean waves, waterfalls or crickets chirping.

Meditation, reducing stress and distraction can also help. Consider investing in a pair of earplugs for the next concert.

Swimmer’s ear

It’s not unheard of for kids to want to spend all day in and out of the swimming pool. As a result, some kids may end up with an earache afterward.

Swimmer’s ear, an ear infection caused by water sitting in the outer ear canal long enough for bacteria to grow, is common among children.

Some common symptoms of swimmer’s ear include pain while tugging on the outer ear, redness or swelling, itchiness and drainage. 

If an infection is suspected, contact a doctor to evaluate the symptoms. The infection can be treated with antibiotic ear drops. Prevent swimmer’s ear by keeping ears as dry as possible and try to drain ears after swimming or showering.


When it comes to seasonal allergies, grass dominates the summer and warm fall months.

An allergy to grass pollen can cause typical allergy symptoms, including a runny, stuffy nose, red and watery eyes, itchy nose, ears and mouth and sneezing.

Over-the-counter allergy medication often does the trick. In addition to that, try avoiding the outdoors when the pollen forecast is high and changing clothes and showering after coming in from being outside to rinse pollen off hair.

Allergy shots and prescription medication are also available if someone does not get relief from at-home remedies. 

Ears popping on flights

Almost everyone who’s traveled by air knows the feeling of ear pressure shortly after takeoff.

As the altitude rises, the change in air pressure causes an imbalance in the pressure of the inner and outer ear.

Some tried-and-true methods to equalize the pressure include yawning, swallowing, chewing gum or eating something.

Another method that could work entails taking a deep breath, closing the mouth and pinching the nostrils closed, then gently attempting to exhale. 

630 Naperville welcomed guest Dr. Rodney T. Caniglia, an Otolaryngologist with Edward-Elmhurst Medical Group.