If your Ear Gets Plugged, How do You Handle it?

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

We’ve all been there, the annoying feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of yawning and swallowing can make it feel better. You’ve attempted chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. Sooner or later, you may contemplate giving up and just hope your ear clears up by itself. And honestly, you wouldn’t be wrong to attempt to wait a little bit to see if the situation clears up on its own unless, of course, you have soreness, drainage, or other signs of an infection.

Your Eustachian tube, a little passageway that attaches your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure level in your ears, can get clogged if it stays open or closed for longer than it should. You may notice a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube opens and closes when you swallow or yawn. A virus, sinus infection or allergy could cause the ear to remain closed, while hormonal changes can cause the ear to remain open. Both issues will go away with time, but it might take quite a long time for your ears to return to normal.

Plugged ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. This type of ear clog can be eliminated with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its intensity. When dealing with clogged ears, here are some tips:

Try Droplets of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to break up earwax blockages, but it must be applied in your ear properly. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to gradually put it in your ear is the professional’s recommendation. Your ear should be tipped upward while you place the drops into your ear and you should keep it that way for a few seconds to let the hydrogen peroxide to break down the earwax blockage. You might need to do this a few times a day for a couple of days, but eventually, the clog should clear.

Never Clean Your Ear by Sticking Something inside it

This can’t be overstated: it will only make the situation worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clean your ears. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper into your ear canal, which can cause a complete blockage. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, result in an earwax clog. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear in order to steer clear of blockage.

Manage Your Allergies

Clogged ears are often made worse by allergies. Always take your allergy medicines and follow your doctor’s instructions on how to manage it. Unnecessary allergens should be definitely avoided during allergy season specifically but also the rest of the year.

If a Remedy Sounds Strange, Stay Clear of it

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you certainly should not stick a lit candle into your ear in order to clear away a clog caused by wax. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific method of clearing earwax by inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. In theory, earwax is drawn into the hollow space inside the candle when the heat of the flame creates a vacuum. This approach will most likely cause more injury and probably won’t do any good. Don’t forget, if it sounds strange you should ask an expert. Arbitrarily trying things is a big danger to your hearing.

If you don’t find any other solution, you should call us. Long-term hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could sustain from incorrect earwax removal.

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.