ehow wrote:Sudden and prolonged hearing loss created by stopped-up ears can range from scary to downright annoying, especially if you have never experienced it before. Stopped- or plugged-up ears can be caused by a variety of health and environmental sources, and can last from a few hours to several weeks.
Read more: What Causes Stopped-Up Ears? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6904471_causes ... z1d09jPS6J
Mayo Clinic wrote:Plugged ears are usually a mild, temporary problem — most commonly due to allergies or a cold. Often, no treatment is needed. However, if symptoms are severe or last for an extended period, you may want to have the problem evaluated by a doctor.
With plugged ears, your eustachian tubes — the pathways between your middle ears and the back of your nose — become obstructed. As a result, your eardrums can't vibrate normally, so sounds are muffled and you may also have ear pain. You can try to forcibly open your eustachian tubes by taking a deep breath and trying to blow out while pinching your nostrils closed and closing your mouth. If you feel a popping noise, you know you have succeeded.
Plugged ears typically last from a few hours to several weeks — depending on the cause — and usually go away without treatment. When treatment is needed, doctors focus on getting air to flow into the eustachian tubes.
Options for clearing plugged ears include:
Nasal spray antihistamines
Topical nasal steroids
Ventilation tubes, in severe cases, to drain fluid and relieve pressure
If your symptoms are severe and last longer than a few weeks, consider seeking care from an otolaryngologist — also known as an ear, nose and throat doctor.
Actually since coffee can constrict blood vessels, coffee could have a role if it restricts blood flow to the ear, a known cause of sudden hearing loss.
From my web search, the fact that my left ear feels plugged or stopped up is a good sign since it is just a temporary cause. The ehow quote is dead on. It's somewhat scary and definitely annoying but thankfully every thing I've read says it should be temporary.
Edit: While up on top of the continental divide my left ear became unplugged and now can hear just as well a before. This indicates a reverse plugging, that the eardrum wasn't vibrating properly since there was too little pressure inside the ear. Normally at high elevations, plugging is caused by too much pressure inside the ear compared to the outside. I never knew that plugging could make the ear completely deaf.