If your Ear Gets Plugged, How do You Handle it?

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

We’ve all been there, the uncomfortable feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of swallowing and yawning can help it. You’ve tried opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. At some point, you may think about giving up and just hope your ear unclogs on its own. But if you have drainage, pain, or the symptoms of an ear infection, this would be a bad idea.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that attaches your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure in your ears, can get plugged if it stays closed or open for longer than it should. You might notice a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube closes and opens when you swallow or yawn. A virus, allergy or sinus infection could possibly cause the ear to stay closed, while hormonal changes can cause the ear to remain open. Both issues will clear up over time, but it could take quite a long time for your ears to return to normal.

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

You Can Try Dripping Hydrogen Peroxide Drops in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly used, can dissolve earwax. Hearing specialists recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water is not too hot and then putting a drop or two in your ear with a pipette. Your ear should be tilted upward as you place the drops in your ear and you should stay that way for several seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to break down the earwax clog. Ultimately, the blockage should clear but you might need to repeat the process for a few days.

Don’t Stick Anything Inside Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth restating: never use a cotton swab to try and clean your ear, because you will only cause things to get worse. Cotton swabs can cause complete blockage by forcing the earwax into the eardrum. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, cause an earwax blockage. To lessen earwax buildup, you should only use cotton swabs on the outer ear.

Pay Attention to Your Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, it can make a blocked ear worse. Follow your doctor’s instructions concerning managing your allergies and don’t forget to take your treatment. Unnecessary allergens should be definitely avoided during allergy season especially but also the rest of the year.

Be Hesitant of Home Remedies That Sound Strange

You shouldn’t stick a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old technique of pushing a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. Theoretically, earwax is drawn into the hollow space inside the candle when the heat of the flame creates a vacuum. This doesn’t work and you will probably cause a lot more damage to your ears. If something doesn’t sound correct, it probably isn’t and it’s best to seek advice from a specialist. Randomly trying anything is a massive risk to your hearing.

You should contact us if your ears don’t clear up. Long-term hearing loss or a burst eardrum are the sorts of consequences 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.
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