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 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 keep your fingers crossed your ear clears up by itself. And truthfully, you wouldn’t be incorrect to attempt to wait a while to see if the problem goes away by itself unless, of course, you have discomfort, drainage, or other signs of an infection.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that links your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure in your ears, can become clogged if it stays closed or open for too long. The tube naturally closes and opens as you yawn or swallow, which you may notice by a crackling sound or pop in your ears. Normal hormonal changes cause the ear to remain open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to remain closed. Both concerns will clear up over time, but it might take quite a while for your ears to return to normal.

Another cause of clogged ears is buildup of earwax. This type of ear blockage can be eliminated with treatments, depending on the severity, this can be at home or at the hearing specialist. Here are a few recommendations when dealing with clogged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to break up earwax blockages, but it must be put in your ear properly. Hearing specialists recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making certain that the water isn’t too hot and then place a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. Your ear should be tipped upward while you place the drops in your ear and you should keep it that way for several seconds to let the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the earwax clog. You could have to repeat this a few times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the clog should clear.

Never Clean Your Ear by Sticking Something inside it

This can’t be overstated: never use a cotton swab to try and unblock your ear, because you will only make things worse. 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 clog. In order to avoid earwax buildup, you should use cotton swabs only on your outer ear.

Treat Your Allergies

If you have allergies, it can cause a blocked ear to get worse. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding how to treat your allergies and don’t forget to take your treatment. Avoid any unneeded allergens, particularly during allergy season.

Be Leery of Home Remedies That Sound Odd

It probably goes without saying, but you really should never stick a lit candle in your ear in order to clean out a clog caused by wax. Ear candling is an old method of inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is very unscientific. The belief is that the heat from the flame produces a vacuum which pulls the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This method will most likely cause more damage and probably won’t help at all. Remember, if it sounds strange you should consult an expert. Randomly trying anything is a huge risk to your hearing.

You should call us if all else fails. Incorrect wax removal can lead to significant problems in your ears, like a ruptured eardrum or permanent hearing loss.

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