Hearing Health Blog

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

We’ve all experienced this, the uncomfortable feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of swallowing and yawning can make it feel better. You’ve attempted opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Hoping your ears will just unclog on their own, eventually, you might just stop trying. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to attempt to wait a while to see if the situation clears up by itself unless, of course, you have discomfort, drainage, or other symptoms of an infection.

A little passageway that links the middle ear to the place behind the nose and regulates the pressure to the ears, called the eustachian tube, will become blocked if it stays open or closed for overly 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. A virus, allergy or sinus infection might cause the ear to stay closed, while hormonal changes can make the ear remain open. It could take your ears a little while to return to normal but both issues will go away with time.

Blocked ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. This type of ear blockage can be cleared with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its severity. Here are some suggestions when dealing with clogged ears:

Try Droplets of Hydrogen Peroxide Into 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 carefully put it in your ear is the professional’s suggestion. Your ear should be turned upward while you place the drops into your ear and you should keep it that way for a few seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to break down the earwax clog. Eventually, the blockage should clear but you might need to repeat the process for a few days.

Don’t Put Anything Inside Your Ear to Clean it

This can’t be overstated: never use a cotton swab to try and unclog your ear, because you will only make things worse. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper into your ear canal, which can cause a complete blockage. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, cause an earwax clog. In order to lessen earwax buildup, you should only use cotton swabs on the outer ear.

Treat Your Allergies

Blocked ears are often made worse by allergies. Always take your allergy treatments and follow your doctor’s directions on how to deal with it. Avoid any unneeded allergens, particularly during allergy season.

Be Suspicious of Home Remedies That Sound Odd

It probably goes without saying, but you seriously should never 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 clearing earwax by sticking a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it. The theory is that earwax is pulled into the hollow space in the candle when the heat of the flame creates a vacuum. This doesn’t work and you will likely cause a lot more damage to your ears. Keep in mind, if it sounds wrong you should ask an expert. Don’t chance damaging your hearing by just trying anything.

You should give us a call if all else fails. Irreversible loss of hearing or a burst eardrum are the sorts of repercussions you could sustain from incorrect earwax removal.

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