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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 tried popping your ear, chewing gum, or trying to open your ear canal with your finger. Hoping your ears will just unclog by themselves, eventually, you may just stop trying. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to try waiting a little bit to see if the situation goes away on its own unless, of course, you have discomfort, drainage, or other signs of an infection.

A small passageway that connects the middle ear to the place behind the nose and regulates the pressure to the ears, called the eustachian tube, will become clogged if it remains open or closed for overly long. The tube normally closes and opens as you yawn or swallow, which you might notice by a crackling sound or pop in your ears. Common hormonal changes cause the ear to remain open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to remain closed. Both issues will clear up with time, but it could take quite a while for your ears to return to normal.

Another cause of plugged ears is buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this type of clog, depending on the seriousness, this can be at home or at the hearing specialist. Here are a few guidelines when dealing with plugged ears:

You Can Try Putting Hydrogen Peroxide Drops into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be utilized to break up earwax blockages, but it must be put in your ear properly. Hearing specialists suggest that you mix the solution with warm water making certain that the water isn’t too hot and then place a drop or two into your ear with a pipette. After you turn your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be sufficient to dissolve the wax blockage. Eventually, the blockage should clear up but you might have to repeat the process for several days.

putting Something in Your Ear is Not a Good Way to Clean it

This can’t be overstated: never use a cotton swab to try to unblock your ear, because you will only cause things to get worse. Cotton swabs can cause total blockage by forcing the earwax into the eardrum. In fact, anything that is inserted in your ears could cause an earwax obstruction, and that includes earplugs and hearing aids. To lessen earwax buildup, you should only use cotton swabs on your outer ear.

Your Allergies Need to be Managed

If you have allergies, it can cause a plugged ear to get worse. Follow your doctor’s advice about treating your allergies and never forget to take your treatment. Unnecessary allergens should be definitely avoided during allergy season particularly but also the rest of the year.

Be Leery of Home Remedies That Sound Weird

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you seriously should not put a lit candle in your ear to get rid of an earwax clog. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific way of removing earwax by sticking a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The belief is that the heat of the flame creates a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This doesn’t work and you will likely cause a lot more harm to your ears. If something doesn’t sound accurate, it probably isn’t and it’s best to seek advice from a specialist. Don’t chance losing your hearing by merely trying anything.

You should call us if all else fails. Unconventional wax removal can result in severe issues in your ears, like a burst eardrum or long-term loss of hearing.

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.