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

We’ve all had the experience, the uncomfortable feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of swallowing and yawning can help it. You’ve attempted chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. At some point, you might think about giving up and just hope your ear clears up on its own. And truthfully, you wouldn’t be wrong to attempt to wait a while to see if the problem clears up on its own unless, of course, you have pain, discharge, or other symptoms of an infection.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that attaches your middle ear to the space behind your nose and controls the air pressure in your ears, can become blocked if it stays closed or open 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. Normal 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 over time, but it might take quite a while for your ears to get back to normal.

Another cause of blocked ears is buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this kind of blockage, depending on the severity, this can be at home or at the hearing specialist. Here are some recommendations when dealing with blocked ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be utilized to dissolve earwax clogs, but it must be applied in your ear properly. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to slowly put it in your ear is the professional’s suggestion. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be sufficient to dissolve the wax clog. You could need to do this several times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the blockage should clear.

putting Something in Your Ear is Not The Right Way to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: it will only make the situation worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clean your ears. Cotton swabs can cause complete blockage by pushing the earwax into the eardrum. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, cause an earwax blockage. In order to avoid earwax accumulation, you should use cotton swabs only on your outer ear.

Pay Attention to Your Allergies

Plugged ears are commonly made worse by allergies. Always take your allergy medicines and follow your doctor’s advice on how to manage it. Unnecessary allergens should be limited during allergy season specifically but also the rest of the year.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Avoid it

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you certainly should never put a lit candle into your ear to get rid of an earwax clog. Ear candling is an old and very unscientific way of clearing earwax by inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The idea is that the heat from the flame causes a vacuum which forces the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This does not work and you will likely cause a lot more harm to your ears. Keep in mind, if it sounds wrong you should consult an expert. Randomly trying anything is a huge risk to your hearing.

You should give us a call if your ears don’t clear up. Lasting hearing loss or a burst eardrum are the kinds of repercussions you could experience from improper 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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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