How to Deal With a Plugged Ear

Woman trying to clear a clogged ear by shaking water out of it.

You try swallowing hard and yawning but to no avail, your ears are clogged and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve attempted opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Hoping your ears will simply unclog by themselves, at some point you might just stop trying. But if you have discharge, soreness, or the symptoms of an ear infection, this would be an unwise idea.

A little passageway that connects the middle ear to the space behind the nose and controls the pressure to the ears, called the eustachian tube, will become blocked if it remains open or closed for too long. You may hear a crackling or popping noise in your ears as this tube opens and closes when you yawn or swallow. Common hormonal changes cause the ear to stay open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to stay closed. It could take your ears a while to return to normal but both issues will go away with time.

Another cause of blocked ears is buildup of earwax. This type of ear blockage can be cleared with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its severity. Here are some suggestions when dealing with clogged ears:

You Can Try Putting Hydrogen Peroxide Drops in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly used, can dissolve earwax. Hearing experts recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water is not too hot and then putting a drop or two in your ear with a pipette. After you turn your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be enough to dissolve the wax blockage. You could have to do this several times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the blockage should clear up.

putting Something into Your Ear is Not a Good Way to Clean it

This can’t be overstated: it will only make the predicament worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clean your ears. Cotton swabs actually push earwax deeper inside your ear canal, which can cause a total blockage. Even hearing aids and earplugs can, in fact, result in an earwax clog. In order to avoid earwax buildup, you should only use cotton swabs on your outer ear.

Pay Attention to Your Allergies

Blocked ears are often made worse by allergies. Take your allergy treatments and follow your doctor’s instructions on how to treat it. Unnecessary allergens should be limited during allergy season specifically but also the rest of the year.

If a Remedy Sounds Strange, Avoid it

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you certainly should never stick a lit candle into your ear to get rid of a clog caused by wax. Ear candling is an old practice of pushing a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. The theory is that earwax is drawn into the hollow space in the candle when the heat of the flame creates a vacuum. This technique will most likely cause more harm and probably won’t help. If something doesn’t seem right, it most likely isn’t and it’s best to contact a specialist. Randomly trying things is a big danger to your hearing.

If you don’t find any other solution, you should call us. Unconventional wax removal can trigger significant issues in your ears, like a burst eardrum or irreversible loss of hearing.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.