HEARING TIPS

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

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

You try swallowing hard and yawning but to no avail, your ears are clogged and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve attempted 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 may just stop trying. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to attempt to wait a while to see if the problem clears up on its own unless, of course, you have discomfort, discharge, or other symptoms of an infection.

A little passageway that connects the middle ear to the place behind the nose and regulates the pressure that goes the ears, called the eustachian tube, will get clogged if it remains closed or open for overly long. The tube naturally opens and closes as you yawn or swallow, which you may notice by a crackling noise or pop in your ears. A sinus infection, allergy or virus could cause the ear to remain closed, while hormonal changes can cause the ear to stay open. It may take your ears a while to return to normal but both issues will go away with time.

Another cause of plugged ears is 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 guidelines:

You Can Try Putting Hydrogen Peroxide Drops in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly used, can break up earwax. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to carefully put it in your ear is the specialist’s suggestion. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be enough to break up the wax blockage. You may have to repeat this a few times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the clog should clear up.

Sticking Something into Your Ear is Never The Right Way to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth restating: never use a cotton swab to try and unclog your ear, because you will only make things worse. Cotton swabs can cause complete blockage by pushing the earwax into the eardrum. Even hearing aids and earplugs can, in fact, cause an earwax clog. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear in order to steer clear of blockage.

Pay Attention to Your Allergies

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

Be Suspicious of Home Remedies That Sound Weird

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you really should never put a lit candle in your ear in order to get rid of an earwax clog. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific way of clearing earwax by inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The belief is that the heat from the flame produces a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This doesn’t work and you will probably cause a lot more harm to your ears. If something doesn’t sound right, it most likely isn’t and it’s best to consult a professional. Arbitrarily trying anything is a massive risk to your hearing.

You should contact us if your ears don’t clear up. Incorrect wax removal can result in serious issues in your ears, like a burst eardrum or lasting hearing loss.

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