HEARING TIPS

How to Take Care of a Clogged Ear

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. Eventually, you might consider giving up and just hope your ear clears up on its own. And truthfully, you wouldn’t be wrong to try waiting a little bit to see if the problem clears up by itself unless, of course, you have soreness, discharge, or other signs of an infection.

A little passageway that links the middle ear to the space behind the nose and controls the pressure to the ears, called the eustachian tube, will become plugged if it stays closed or open for too long. You might hear a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube closes and opens when you yawn or swallow. A virus, sinus infection or allergy could possibly cause the ear to stay closed, while hormonal changes can make the ear remain open. Both problems will clear up with time, but it may take quite a while for your ears to get back to normal.

Clogged ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this kind of clog, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its severity. When dealing with blocked ears, here are some suggestions:

Try Droplets of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly applied, can break up earwax. Hearing experts 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 into your ear with a pipette. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be enough to break up the wax blockage. You might need to repeat this several times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the clog should clear.

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

Seriously, this is worth restating: it will only make the situation worse if you try to use a cotton swab to clean your ears. Cotton swabs can cause complete blockage by forcing the earwax against the eardrum. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, result in an earwax blockage. To avoid earwax buildup, you should use cotton swabs only on the outer ear.

Your Allergies Should be Treated

Plugged ears are commonly made worse by allergies. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding dealing with your allergies and don’t forget to take your treatment. Unnecessary allergens should be limited during allergy season particularly but also the rest of the year.

Be Suspicious 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 and very unscientific way of removing earwax by sticking a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The belief is that the heat of the flame causes a vacuum which forces the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This approach will probably cause more injury and probably won’t help. Keep in mind, if it sounds strange you should consult a professional. Randomly trying things is a big risk to your hearing.

You should contact us if your ears don’t clear up. Long-term loss of hearing or a ruptured eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could suffer from inappropriate earwax removal.

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