If your Ear Gets Blocked, How do You Deal With it?

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

We’ve all experienced this, the annoying feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of yawning and swallowing can make it feel better. You’ve attempted opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Eventually, you may contemplate giving up and just hope your ear clears up by itself. But if you have discharge, discomfort, or the signs of an ear infection, this would be an unwise idea.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that links your middle ear to the space behind your nose and controls the air pressure level in your ears, can become blocked if it stays closed or open for longer than it should. The tube naturally closes and opens as you yawn or swallow, which you may notice by a crackling noise or pop in your ears. Typical hormonal changes cause the ear to stay open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to stay closed. Both issues will clear up over time, but it might take quite a while for your ears to return to normal.

Blocked ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. This type of ear clog can be eliminated with treatments, depending on the severity, this can be at home or at the hearing specialist. Here are some guidelines when dealing with clogged ears:

You Can Try Dripping Hydrogen Peroxide Drops in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly used, can break up earwax. Hearing specialists suggest that you mix the solution with warm water making certain that the water isn’t too hot and then putting a drop or two into your ear with a dropper. Your ear should be tipped upward while you put the drops in your ear and you should stay that way for a few seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the earwax clog. Eventually, the clog should clear up but you may have to repeat the process for a few days.

Don’t Put Anything Inside Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: never use a cotton swab to try to unblock your ear, because you will only worsen the problem. Cotton swabs can cause total blockage by pushing the earwax against the eardrum. As a matter of fact, anything that is inserted in your ears can possibly cause an earwax block, and that includes hearing aids and earplugs. Cotton swabs should be used only on your outer ear so that you can steer clear of blockage.

Treat Your Allergies

If you have allergies, it can make a clogged ear worse. Always take your allergy medicines and follow your doctor’s advice on how to manage it. Avoid any unnecessary allergens, specifically during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Strange, Stay Clear of it

You shouldn’t stick a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old method of sticking a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. The thought is that the heat from the flame produces a vacuum which forces the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This does not work and you will likely cause a lot more damage to your ears. Remember, if it sounds strange you should ask a specialist. Arbitrarily trying anything is a big danger to your hearing.

When all else fails, you should call us. Long-term hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could experience 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.