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

We’ve all had the experience, the annoying feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of swallowing and yawning can help it. You’ve tried chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. Hoping your ears will just unclog by themselves, at some point you may just stop trying. But if you have drainage, discomfort, or the symptoms of an ear infection, this would be a bad idea.

A small passageway that connects the middle ear to the space behind the nose and regulates the pressure to the ears, called the eustachian tube, will become plugged if it remains closed or open for too long. You may notice a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube opens and closes when you yawn or swallow. A sinus infection, allergy or virus could possibly cause the ear to stay closed, while hormonal changes can make the ear remain open. Both problems will go away with time, but it might take quite a long time for your ears to get back to normal.

Another cause of plugged ears is buildup of earwax. This type of ear blockage can be cleared with treatments, depending on the severeness, this can be at home or at the hearing specialist. When managing plugged ears, here are some tips:

You Can Try Putting Hydrogen Peroxide Drops into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be utilized to break up earwax clogs, but it must be placed in your ear properly. Hearing experts 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 into your ear with a dropper. Your ear should be tipped upward while you put the drops in your ear and you should keep it that way for several seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the earwax blockage. You may have to do this a few times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the blockage should clear.

Never Clean Your Ear by Sticking Something in it

Seriously, this is worth restating: it will only make the predicament worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clean your ears. Cotton swabs can cause complete blockage by pushing the earwax against the eardrum. Even hearing aids and earplugs can, in fact, cause an earwax blockage. Cotton swabs should be used only on your outer ear in order to avoid causing 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 treat it. Steer clear of any unnecessary allergens, particularly during allergy season.

Be Hesitant of Home Remedies That Sound Strange

You should not 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 idea is that the heat of the flame causes a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This doesn’t work and you will probably cause a lot more damage to your ears. If something doesn’t seem accurate, it probably isn’t and it’s best to seek advice from a specialist. Don’t chance losing your hearing by simply trying things.

You should give us a call if all else fails. Lasting loss of hearing or a burst eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could suffer from inappropriate 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.