Hearing Health Blog

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

We’ve all been there, the unpleasant feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of yawning and swallowing can help it. You’ve attempted chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. Sooner or later, you may think about giving up and just keep your fingers crossed your ear clears up on its own. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to try waiting a little bit to see if the situation clears up on its own unless, of course, you have soreness, drainage, or other symptoms of an infection.

Your Eustachian tube, a little passageway that attaches your middle ear to the space behind your nose and controls the air pressure level in your ears, can get blocked if it stays closed or open for too long. You may notice a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube closes and opens when you swallow or yawn. Common hormonal changes cause the ear to stay open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to remain closed. Both problems will clear up with time, but it could take quite a while for your ears to return to normal.

Blocked ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. This type of ear blockage can be eliminated with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its intensity. Here are a few recommendations when dealing with plugged ears:

Try Droplets of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be utilized to break up earwax clogs, but it must be put in your ear properly. Hearing specialists recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making certain that the water is not too hot and then putting a drop or two into your ear with a pipette. Your ear should be turned upward while you place the drops in your ear and you should keep it that way for a few seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to break down the earwax blockage. You could need to do this several times a day for a couple of days, but eventually, the clog should clear.

Don’t Put Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

This can’t be overstated: it will only make the predicament worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clear your ears. Cotton swabs can cause total blockage by pushing the earwax against the eardrum. As a matter of fact, anything that gets inserted in your ears could cause an earwax obstruction, including hearing aids and earplugs. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear so that you can avoid causing blockage.

Manage Your Allergies

Clogged ears are usually made worse by allergies. Follow your doctor’s advice about managing your allergies and never forget to take your medication. Unneeded allergens should be avoided during allergy season especially but also the rest of the year.

Be Suspicious of Home Remedies That Sound Strange

We probably shouldn’t need to tell you this, but you seriously should not stick a lit candle into your ear in order to clear away an earwax clog. Ear candling is an old technique of inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. Theoretically, earwax is drawn into the hollow space inside the candle when the heat of the flame creates a vacuum. This does not work and you will most likely cause a lot more injury to your ears. Always remember, if it sounds wrong you should ask an expert. Arbitrarily trying things is a huge danger to your hearing.

You should call us if your ears don’t clear up. Unconventional wax removal can cause significant problems in your ears, like a burst eardrum or permanent hearing loss.

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