If your Ear Gets Blocked, 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 opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ears, and chewing gum. Hoping your ears will just unclog by themselves, eventually, you may just give up. But if you have drainage, pain, or the signs of an ear infection, this would be an unwise idea.

A small passageway that links the middle ear to the place behind the nose and regulates the pressure to the ears, called the eustachian tube, will get plugged if it stays closed or open for too long. You may hear a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube closes and opens when you swallow or yawn. Typical hormonal changes cause the ear to stay open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to remain closed. Both concerns will go away with time, but it may take quite a while for your ears to return to normal.

Another cause of clogged ears is buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this type of clog, depending on the severity, this can be at home or at the hearing professional. Here are a few recommendations when dealing with blocked ears:

You Can Try Dripping Hydrogen Peroxide Drops into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly applied, can break up earwax. Hearing specialists recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water isn’t too hot and then place a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be sufficient to dissolve the wax blockage. Eventually, the clog should clear but you might need to repeat the process for several days.

Don’t Put Anything Inside Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth restating: it will only make the situation worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clear your ears. Cotton swabs actually push earwax deeper inside your ear canal, which can cause a total blockage. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, cause an earwax blockage. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear so that you can avoid causing blockage.

Pay Attention to Your Allergies

Plugged ears are usually made worse by allergies. Take your allergy treatments and follow your doctor’s guidelines on how to deal with it. Unnecessary allergens should be definitely avoided during allergy season specifically but also the rest of the year.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Stay Away From it

You shouldn’t put a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old technique of pushing a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is very unscientific. The thought is that the heat from the flame causes a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This does not work and you will likely cause a lot more damage to your ears. If something doesn’t sound correct, it probably isn’t and it’s best to consult a specialist. Randomly trying things is a huge risk to your hearing.

You should contact us if your ears don’t clear up. Incorrect wax removal can trigger severe issues in your ears, like a burst eardrum or lasting hearing loss.

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.