How to Get Rid of a Plugged Ear

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 yawning and swallowing can make it feel better. You’ve tried opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Sooner or later, you may consider giving up and just hope your ear unclogs on its own. And honestly, you wouldn’t be wrong to try waiting a while to see if the situation goes away on its own unless, of course, you have pain, discharge, or other signs of an infection.

Your Eustachian tube, a little passageway that links your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure in your ears, can get blocked if it stays open or closed for too long. The tube naturally closes and opens as you yawn or swallow, which you may 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. It may take your ears a little while to return to normal but both issues will recede over time.

Blocked ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this type of blockage, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its severity. Here are a few tips when dealing with clogged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to break up earwax clogs, but it must be placed in your ear correctly. Hearing specialists suggest 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. You might have to do this several times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the clog should clear up.

Never Clean Your Ear by Putting Something inside it

Seriously, this is worth restating: never use a cotton swab to try and unblock your ear, because you will only cause things to get worse. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper inside your ear canal, which can cause a total blockage. Actually, anything that is inserted in your ears can result in an earwax obstruction, and that includes earplugs and hearing aids. In order to lessen earwax buildup, you should use cotton swabs only on your outer ear.

Your Allergies Should be Managed

Blocked ears are usually made worse by allergies. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding treating your allergies and don’t forget to take your medication. Unnecessary allergens should be avoided during allergy season specifically but also the rest of the year.

Be Hesitant of Home Remedies That Sound Strange

We probably shouldn’t need to tell you this, but you seriously should never stick a lit candle into your ear to clean out a clog caused by wax. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific method of removing earwax by inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The idea is that the heat of the flame creates a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow space in the candle. This technique will most likely cause more harm and probably won’t do any good. Always remember, if it sounds wrong you should ask a professional. Arbitrarily trying anything is a huge danger to your hearing.

If you don’t find any other solution, you should get in touch with us. Long-term hearing loss or a burst eardrum are the kinds of repercussions you could suffer from incorrect 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.