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 chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. Hoping your ears will just clear up on their own, at some point you might just stop trying. And truthfully, you wouldn’t be wrong to attempt to wait a while to see if the situation goes away on its own unless, of course, you have soreness, discharge, or other signs of an infection.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that connects your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure level 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 opens and closes when you swallow or yawn. Common hormonal changes cause the ear to remain open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to remain closed. Both problems will go away over time, but it may take quite a long time for your ears to return to normal.

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

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly employed, can dissolve earwax. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a dropper to gradually put it in your ear is the specialist’s recommendation. Your ear should be turned upward as you place the drops into your ear and you should keep it that way for a few seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the earwax blockage. Ultimately, the blockage should clear but you may have to repeat the process for a few days.

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

Seriously, this is worth repeating: don’t use a cotton swab to try to clean your ear, because you will only cause things to get worse. Cotton swabs actually push earwax deeper inside your ear canal, which can cause a total blockage. Actually, anything that is inserted in your ears can lead to an earwax obstruction, including earplugs and hearing aids. Cotton swabs should be used only on your outer ear in order to avoid causing blockage.

Your Allergies Should be Dealt With

Plugged ears are usually made worse by allergies. Follow your doctor’s directions regarding dealing with your allergies and never forget to take your medication. Stay away from any unneeded allergens, especially during allergy season.

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 inserting a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. In theory, earwax is drawn into the hollow space in the candle when the heat of the flame creates a vacuum. This method will likely cause more harm and probably won’t do any good. If something doesn’t seem correct, it probably isn’t and it’s best to seek advice from a professional. Arbitrarily trying things is a big risk to your hearing.

If you don’t find any other solution, you should give us a call. Long-term loss of hearing or a ruptured eardrum are the sorts of consequences you could sustain from inappropriate 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.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC