ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Do Sleep Disorders Cause Ear Problems?

Do Sleep Disorders Cause Ear Problems?


You are likely to have ear problems if you are afflicted with sleep apnea. If you examine the anatomy of your ear, you will see why having a sleeping disorder will lead to a number of ear problems.


Ear Problems and Sleep Apnea are Inter-related


You cannot effectively get rid of your ear problems without treating your sleep apnea first because your ear and throat are inter-connected. Ear problems can be better managed by understanding the various kinds of ear inflammation caused by sleep apnea together with a clear understanding of how the mechanism of your ear works.


How Your Ear Works


You hear sounds when your ear drum vibrates. It is composed of a thin membrane which separates your outer ear canal from the middle ear cavity. Ideally, the pressure in the middle ear cavity and the outer ear canal should be the same.


However, due to stress or some other causes, the air pressure between the two sections becomes unequal. This normally occurs when you suddenly ascend or descend making changes in air pressure in your middle ear very likely.


Other Causes of Pressure Change


Inflammation on your nose can also result in the unequal pressure in your middle ear and nose. The inflammation can be caused by colds, weather changes, allergies, and acid reflux.


Normally, if you catch a cold, it will be gone in a few days. Therefore, your nose will no longer be inflamed. However, there are times when your ears will continue to be stuffed. Vacuum pressure is then created which causes fluid to accumulate. This fluid can be infected by bacteria.


There will be no problem if you don’t have sleep apnea because the whole process will be over in just a few days. But if you are afflicted with this disorder, and because of the resulting inflammation, your ear or sinus problems could go on for weeks. There are cases wherein the condition persisted for months.


If there are additional inflammations in your nose or throat, this will result in more swelling. This in turn will create more obstructions and sometimes will cause stomach juices to rise to your nose and throat, up to your Eustachian tube.


If you have non-allergic or chronic rhinitis, this may even lead to an imbalance of your involuntary nervous system in which your nose will be overly sensitive to humidity, pressure, temperature and weather changes.


What You Can Do


Here are some practical tips to treat your sleep apnea:


  • Use the best CPAP device you can buy. This will help you control your sleeping disorder effectively.
  • Ensure that your nasal breathing is at its optimum.
  • Eat your dinner 3 to 4 hours before going to bed. This will lower the chances of the inflammation.
  • Consult an ENT specialist for the proper diagnosis and ENT services for treatment of your sleep disorder.


HK ENT Specialist Ltd.
Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre
For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,
Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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