Coastal Hearing Aid Center - Encinitas, CA

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

We’ve all experienced this, the unpleasant 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 ears, and chewing gum. Eventually, you may consider giving up and just keep your fingers crossed your ear clears up by itself. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to try waiting a while to see if the problem clears up by itself unless, of course, you have soreness, drainage, or other signs of an infection.

A little 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 blocked if it stays open or closed for overly long. You might notice a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube opens and closes when you yawn or swallow. Normal hormonal changes cause the ear to remain open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to stay closed. Both issues will clear up with time, but it may take quite a while for your ears to get back to normal.

Plugged 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 intensity. When managing blocked ears, here are some guidelines:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly implemented, can dissolve earwax. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to slowly put it in your ear is the specialist’s suggestion. Your ear should be turned upward while you put the drops in your ear and you should stay that way for several seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the earwax clog. Eventually, the blockage should clear up but you might have to repeat the process for several days.

Don’t Put Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth restating: never use a cotton swab to try and unclog your ear, because you will only worsen the problem. 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 blockage. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear in order to avoid causing blockage.

Manage Your Allergies

Blocked ears are often made worse by allergies. Always take your allergy treatments and follow your doctor’s directions on how to treat it. Unneeded allergens should be avoided during allergy season particularly but also the rest of the year.

Be Suspicious of Home Remedies That Sound Weird

We probably shouldn’t need to tell you this, but you seriously should not stick a lit candle in your ear in order to get rid of a clog caused by wax. Ear candling is an old and very unscientific way of clearing earwax by inserting a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it. Theoretically, earwax is pulled into the hollow space inside the candle when the heat of the flame causes a vacuum. This approach will likely cause more injury and probably won’t help at all. Always remember, if it sounds wrong you should consult an expert. Don’t chance losing your hearing by just trying anything.

You should contact us if your ears don’t clear up. Permanent hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum are the sorts of consequences you could sustain from inappropriate earwax removal.

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