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

We’ve all been there, the unpleasant feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of yawning and swallowing can make it feel better. You’ve attempted chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. Hoping your ears will simply clear up by themselves, eventually, you might just stop trying. But if you have drainage, discomfort, or the signs of an ear infection, this would be an unwise idea.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that attaches your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure level in your ears, can become clogged if it stays open or closed for longer than it should. The tube naturally closes and opens as you yawn or swallow, which you might notice by a crackling noise or pop in your ears. A sinus infection, allergy or virus might cause the ear to stay closed, while hormonal changes can make the ear remain open. It might take your ears a little while to return to normal but both issues will recede with time.

Plugged ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. This type of ear clog can be cleared with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its seriousness. When managing plugged ears, here are some tips:

You Can Try Dripping Hydrogen Peroxide Drops into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly used, can break up earwax. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to slowly put it in your ear is the expert’s recommendation. Your ear should be tipped upward while you place the drops into your ear and you should keep it that way for several seconds to let the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the earwax clog. Ultimately, the clog should clear but you may have to repeat the process for a few days.

Never Clean Your Ear by Putting Something inside it

This can’t be overstated: never use a cotton swab to try to unblock your ear, because you will only worsen the problem. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper inside your ear canal, which can cause a complete blockage. Even hearing aids and earplugs can, in fact, result in an earwax blockage. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear so that you can avoid causing blockage.

Treat Your Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, it can make a plugged ear worse. Follow your doctor’s advice about dealing with your allergies and don’t forget to take your treatment. Steer clear of any unneeded allergens, particularly during allergy season.

Be Leery of Home Remedies That Sound Odd

It probably goes without saying, but you certainly should not put a lit candle in your ear to clean out a clog caused by wax. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific technique of clearing earwax by inserting a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it. Theoretically, earwax is drawn into the hollow space inside the candle when the heat of the flame causes a vacuum. This technique will most likely cause more damage and probably won’t do any good. If something doesn’t sound accurate, it most likely isn’t and it’s best to consult an expert. Don’t chance damaging your hearing by just trying anything.

If you don’t find any other solution, you should call us. Improper wax removal can trigger severe problems in your ears, like a burst eardrum or permanent loss of hearing.

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