can a sinus infection cause an ear infection

can a sinus infection cause an ear infection?


A sinus infection or sinus inflammation (also known as sinusitis) can lead to an ear infection. Sinusitis occurs when the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed and swollen. Earache is one of the common symptoms of sinusitis. This can be caused by sinus pressure and draining sinus infections.

If you have an ear infection, first visit an otolaryngologist for an examination. The doctor examines the possible causes of the infection by examining the ear and starts the correct treatment.

What is a sinus and where is it located on the face?

Sinusitis, commonly called a sinus infection, is an uncomfortable inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, the air cavities in the face.

The sinuses are four pairs of air-filled spaces located in the facial bones near the eyes, forehead, and behind the cheekbones. They warm, moisten and filter the air in the nasal cavity. The sinuses also produce mucus that drains into the nasal cavity and cleans the nose. When these air-filled areas become blocked by fluid, infection occurs. Many diseases can cause congestion and ringing in the ears. Some cause temporary tinnitus, but others may cause permanent hearing problems.

in this article we will discuss about:


What is sinusitis?

What are sinuses and how many sinuses do we have?

sinus pressure

What is the treatment of sinusitis and ear congestion?

Colds and sinus infections

Causes of ear infection (middle ear)

Types of ear infections (middle ear)

Chronic sinusitis




What is sinusitis?

Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of sinus cavities that are infected with bacteria. This disease is usually caused by a cold, allergy attacks and irritation by environmental pollutants, and unlike a cold or allergy, sinusitis is diagnosed and treated by a doctor and requires antibiotics.

Normally, the secretions inside the sinuses are discharged into the nasal space, and when suffering from a cold or allergy, the sinuses become inflamed and have problems in discharging their secretions, which can cause congestion and then sinus infection.

The diagnosis of acute sinusitis is made after examination and the doctor's questions about your symptoms. The radiological picture of the sinuses and sometimes a sample of your sinus secretions may be used to test the presence of bacteria in it.


What are sinuses and how many sinuses do we have?

A sinus is an empty cavity filled with air. For the purposes of this article, a sinus is an empty cavity in the skull that is connected to the nasal airway by a narrow hole in the bone.

Normally, all sinuses open to the nasal airways through this narrow opening called an ostium.

There are four types of these cavities in humans : 

  • frontal sinus (in the forehead)
  • maxillary sinus (back of the upper jaw)
  • Ethmoid sinus (between the eyes)
  • and sphenoid sinus (behind the eyes)


When the mucus inside the nasal cavity becomes inflamed, the air entering from the nose can no longer enter the sinuses, so it provides a suitable place for the growth of bacteria and infections.

At this stage, the sinuses become inflamed and sinusitis occurs (sinusitis means inflammation of the sinuses of the head). In this case, the person states that the sinuses around his nose and forehead are painful and he feels heaviness and pressure in these areas.

One of the obvious symptoms of sinusitis is sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose or stuffy nose. Sometimes the symptoms of the disease continue, for example, the water coming out of the nose turns yellow and a slimy substance appears in the back of the throat.

Congestion and obstruction of the nose increased and a more or less vague pain is felt in the forehead or face in the frontal and maxillary sinuses, or smells It may be felt very little

Environmental factors such as extreme cold, very dry air, stagnant and unhealthy air, air pollution

Allergy to allergens such as wool, domestic animals such as cats, insects, flowers and plants

Infection of mill teeth

Sinusitis can also occur due to congenital factors such as deviated nasal septum, very narrow sinus passages, nasal polyps.

The best and most important test to diagnose sinusitis is examination and history of the patient, but CT scan and endoscopy tests are also used to diagnose and confirm the type of sinusitis.


sinus pressure

People with sinus pressure may experience a blocked nose or congestion and ringing in the ears.

Sinusitis is one of the common causes of increased sinus pressure. Some people may develop chronic sinusitis.


In addition to having a stuffy nose and stuffy or ringing ears, some people may experience:

  • Decreased sense of smell
  • facial pressure
  • Pain and sensitivity in the face
  • runny nose
  • Fever
  • Toothache (usually upper teeth)
  • reasons

People usually get sinusitis as a result of viral infections of the nasal passages. However, sometimes bacteria can lead to infection.


Other causes of sinusitis include:

  • sesitivity (allergy)
  • Non-allergic inflammation of the nasal passages
  • Anatomical abnormalities
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • Swimming, diving, mountain climbing
  • Dental infections and surgeries



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that most sinus infections do not require antibiotics, and most resolve on their own without antibiotic treatment.

However, people who experience severe symptoms or symptoms that do not go away should see a doctor, as medication is sometimes necessary.


What is the treatment of sinusitis and ear congestion?

So far, you have understood that sinusitis is caused by an infection, and if this infection is transferred to the ears, it causes ear congestion and tinnitus. The good news is that tinnitus caused by sinusitis is treatable.

The treatment of sinusitis and ear infection can go hand in hand. In fact, many ear problems that arise due to sinusitis disappear with the treatment of sinus infection.

The Home remedies to treat sinusitis and ear congestion

Treatment of mild and unstable sinusitis is possible with rest and home care.


Simple things you can do to help relieve congestion include:

  • Drink warm water
  • Warm facial compress
  • Rinsing the nose with salt water solution

Ear congestion occurs when the eustachian tube is blocked or malfunctions.

The eustachian tube is a small channel that runs between the pharynx and the middle ear. This channel helps balance the pressure in the middle ear.

When the eustachian tube is blocked, you feel fullness and pressure in the ear. You may also have earaches and congestion.

These symptoms of ear congestion can be caused by problems in the middle ear or ear canal that affect the earlobe.

Anything that affects your sinuses, such as colds, allergies, and sinus infections, can also lead to blocked ears. Air travel and change in altitude can also disrupt the function of the eustachian tube, which will cause symptoms of ear congestion.


Any factor that causes sinus congestion can also lead to ear congestion.

  • a cold
  • Influenza
  • Allergy
  • sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Irritants such as tobacco smoke


Colds and sinus infections

Although colds and sinus infections have many similar symptoms, they are not the same.

A cold is a mild infection of the respiratory system, including the throat, nose and sinuses. Viruses that belong to cold groups are usually the cause of colds, but other viruses may also cause colds, which are usually not dangerous.

Symptoms of a cold include headache, runny nose or stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, fever, itchy eyes, sore throat, body pain, etc.

If the cold worsens, ear symptoms such as ear infections, blocked ears, and ear pain will appear. Sometimes a cold can block the sinuses and lead to a sinus infection.

Sinus infection or sinusitis is inflammation and irritation of the sinuses and nasal cavities. Usually, the virus is the cause of this disease, but sometimes bacteria or even fungi can also cause sinusitis.

Sometimes, allergies, nasal polyps (non-cancerous tissue in the nasal mucosa), or even a dental infection can affect the sinuses. Sinus problems can increase the likelihood of ear infections, earaches, or even tinnitus.

The pressure caused by sinus congestion can affect the pressure in the ears.

If there is inflammation or blockage in the middle part of the ear, called the eustachian tube, you may have an ear infection. This blockage causes the production of fluid in the ear. Tinnitus is when you feel an annoying noise in your ears. This sound may be in the form of noise, rattling, chattering or humming.

It may also affect one or both ears, be loud or slow, low or high. By treating cramps, you will get rid of these symptoms. Using a saline nasal spray or inhaler several times a day can provide immediate relief from symptoms


Causes of ear infection (middle ear)

The cause of ear infection can be bacteria or virus that occurs in the middle ear.

This infection is often caused by other diseases such as colds, flu, or types of allergies that cause congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and Eustachian tube.

An ear infection (sometimes called otitis media) refers to an infection in the middle ear: the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains tiny vibrating bones.

The incidence of this disease is much higher in children than in other people.

Since most ear infections go away over time, they can be treated with pain tolerance and regular care. In more severe cases, antibiotics are used to clear the infection.

Of course, you should note that some people are prone to multiple ear infections.

These types of chronic infections can cause hearing problems and other serious complications.


Symptoms of ear infection (middle ear)

  • The onset of symptoms and the spread of an ear infection is usually rapid.
  • Symptoms of ear infection in children
  • Common symptoms in children include:
  • Ear pain (especially when sleeping)
  • Shooting feeling
  • sleep problem
  • Cry more than usual
  • Noise
  • Difficulty hearing or responding to voice
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever of 38 degrees Celsius or higher
  • Draining fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Possible causes of ear infections


Various conditions can lead to ear infections or problems in the middle ear:

Otitis media with effusion or swelling and fluid accumulation (effusion) in the middle ear without bacterial or viral infection.

This type of infection occurs due to the remaining fluids after the infection gets better.

One of the other reasons is the improper functioning of the Eustachian tubes and their non-infectious blockage.

Chronic otitis with effusion occurs when fluid remains in the middle ear and does not have a bacterial or viral infection.

This type of accumulation in children increases the possibility of new infections and may affect hearing.

Chronic purulent otitis is a type of ear infection that does not go away with usual treatments and can lead to perforation of the eardrum.


Types of ear infections (middle ear)

Acute otitis media. "Ear infection" generally means acute otitis media. If there is fluid in the middle ear, symptoms of infection and its relatively sudden onset, the doctor uses this method of diagnosis.


  • Otitis media with effusion:

If the doctor's diagnosis is otitis media with effusion, the otolaryngologist has found evidence of fluid in the middle ear, but there are currently no signs of infection.

Chronic purulent otitis media. If the doctor's diagnosis of chronic otitis media is ambiguous, that means a long-term infection can lead to a rupture of the eardrum. This infection is usually accompanied by discharge of pus from the ear.


  • Complications of ear infection (middle ear)

In most cases, ear infections do not cause long-term complications. But chronic ear infections or repeated infections for any reason can lead to serious complications:

Hearing impairment.

Temporary and mild hearing loss is very common during an ear infection and usually gets better after the infection clears.

However, chronic ear infections or fluid in the middle ear can lead to significant hearing loss.

Permanent hearing loss may occur if there is permanent damage to the eardrum or other middle ear structures.

Speech or developmental delay. If babies' hearing is temporarily or permanently impaired, their speech, social and developmental skills will be delayed.

spread of infection.

Untreated infections or malignant infections can spread to surrounding tissues. Infection of the bony bump behind the ear (mastoiditis) can lead to bone damage and the formation of a pus-filled cyst.

In rare cases, serious infections of the middle ear can spread to other tissues of the skull, including the brain or the membranes around the brain (meningitis).

Rupture of the eardrum. Most injuries to the eardrum heal within 72 hours. However, in some cases, surgery is needed.


Chronic sinusitis

This common condition interferes with the discharge of mucus and causes nasal congestion. Breathing through the nose becomes difficult and the area around the eyes may become swollen or tender.

Chronic sinusitis can be caused by an infection, through the growth of the sinuses (nasal polyps), or by swelling of the lining of the sinuses. This disease, also called chronic rhinosinusitis, affects both adults and children.

Unusually, people with chronic sinusitis may develop inflammation of the membranes and fluid around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), an infection in the bones, or a serious skin infection.

By comparing these two models of infections (ear infection and sinus infection), we can understand the effect of sinus infection on the ears.

It can also be said that sinus infection can affect ear infection. Because sinus infections can also reach the ears and nose in addition to the head, it is better to see a doctor if you see symptoms such as earache and toothache.

The doctor can help you by examining the causes of sinusitis.

The sinuses are a sensitive part that should be kept away from cold air and cigarette smoke.



Today, many people suffer from sinus headaches, the causes of which are increasing every day, which include air pollution, viruses, colds, cigarette smoke, cold weather, etc.

It is better to update our information about this painful disease.

In this article, we intended to answer the question: Can a sinus infection cause an ear infection?And we tried to get information about the infections related to me

As you read in the article, the cause of infections are viruses and bacteria that can easily enter other parts of the body, including the ears, and cause infection.

Sinus infections can be seen as a cause of ear infections, but this cannot be said for sure, that's why if you see such cases, it is better to see a doctor, then with the doctor's diagnosis, you can treat the infections.

In general, it can be said that sinus infections have a positive effect on ear infections, so it is better to prevent this disease by taking measures such as regular hand washing, maintaining hygiene, etc.

Many different diseases can cause blocked ears or ringing in the ears. Some diseases may cause temporary tinnitus, such as air travel or infection, but chronic inflammation and tumors may cause permanent hearing problems.

If someone has ear congestion and ringing in the ears, they should see a doctor to find out the cause. Doctors will ask about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and may order medical imaging.

People with blocked ears should stop trying to clear their earwax, and see a doctor for earwax removal.

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