How to Take Care of a Blocked Ear

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

You try to swallow hard and yawn but it’s no use, your ears are clogged and you can’t do anything about it. You’ve tried opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Hoping your ears will simply clear up on their own, eventually, you might just stop trying. But if you have discharge, discomfort, or the signs of an ear infection, this would be an unwise idea.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that links your middle ear to the space behind your nose and controls the air pressure in your ears, can become plugged if it stays closed or open for longer than it should. The tube normally opens and closes as you yawn or swallow, which you might notice by a crackling noise or pop in your ears. Normal hormonal changes cause the ear to remain open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to stay closed. Both concerns will clear up over time, but it could take quite a long time for your ears to return to normal.

Another cause of blocked ears is 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 some suggestions when dealing with plugged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to break up earwax clogs, but it must be applied in your ear correctly. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to carefully put it in your ear is the specialist’s suggestion. Your ear should be tipped upward while you place the drops in your ear and you should stay that way for a few seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the earwax clog. Eventually, the blockage should clear up but you might need to repeat the process for several days.

Don’t Put Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: never use a cotton swab to try and clean your ear, because you will only cause things to get worse. Cotton swabs actually push 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. In order to avoid earwax buildup, you should use cotton swabs only on the outer ear.

Your Allergies Should be Treated

If you have allergies, it can make a blocked ear worse. Always take your allergy medications and follow your doctor’s advice on how to manage it. Unneeded allergens should be definitely avoided during allergy season specifically but also the rest of the year.

If a Remedy Sounds Strange, Avoid it

You shouldn’t stick a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old method of sticking a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. The thought is that the heat of the flame produces a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow space in the candle. This does not work and you will probably cause a lot more injury to your ears. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t and it’s best to seek advice from a specialist. Don’t risk damaging your hearing by simply trying anything.

You should call us if all else fails. Improper wax removal can result in severe issues in your ears, like a ruptured eardrum or permanent loss of hearing.

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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.