Food allergies can cause respiratory symptoms, including clogged ears and nose, according to St. Vincent Medical Center. If your ears become clogged immediately after eating, more serious symptoms caused by the body's rapid immune response also may be experienced. If you are experiencing difficulty breathing and your mouth and throat are swelling, this could be anaphylactic shock, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Clogged ears can lead to more serious ear infections called otitis media. There are two types of otitis media. The University of Maryland Medical Center identifies acute otitis media, which is usually the result of an infection. It can cause severe pain and lead to a burst eardrum. The second type is otitis media with effusion, which occurs over time and can result from allergies. It is identified by a thick or sticky fluid behind the eardrum in the middle ear but has no associated ear infection.
Inflammation, swelling and mucus blocking the eustachian tubes that lead from the ear to the back of the nose causes the feeling of clogged ears, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The National Institutes of Health reports that barotrauma, the medical term for the pain and pressure from clogged, blocked ears, can result from congestion due to colds and allergies. Most people have experienced barotrauma at least a few times while flying, diving or driving in mountains.
Some doctors believe that repeated clogged ears from food allergies can contribute to chronic infections, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A 2010 review of studies of children with allergies to milk published in the "Italian Journal of Pediatrics" showed that about 20 to 30 percent of children with confirmed cow's milk allergies experienced respiratory symptoms. Chronic and rapid symptoms could occur, the "Italian Journal of Pediatrics" review discovered, including breathing problems, clogged ears and nose.
Any food allergy symptoms will be improved by avoiding the allergic food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that antihistamines and decongestants taken by mouth or nose spray can relieve congestion and allow the eustachian tubes to open. Corticosteroids are additional anti-inflammatory medications that may be prescribed by a doctor in the case of severe pressure and pain as a result of clogged ears.
- St. Vincent Medical Center: Allergies & AutoImmune Inner Ear Disease
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Otitis Media
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Get Smart - Know When Antibiotics Work; Ear Infections
- National Institutes for Health; Ear Barotrauma
- Italian Journal of Pediatrics: Cow's Milk Protein Allergy in Children: A Practical Guide
- PubMedHealth: Otitis Media With Effusion