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

We’ve all been there, the uncomfortable feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of swallowing and yawning can make it feel better. You’ve tried chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. Hoping your ears will just unclog on their own, at some point you may just give up. But if you have drainage, discomfort, or the symptoms of an ear infection, this would be a bad idea.

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 plugged if it stays closed or open for overly long. The tube normally opens and closes as you yawn or swallow, which you may notice by a crackling noise or pop in your ears. Common hormonal changes cause the ear to stay open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to stay closed. It may take your ears a while to return to normal but both issues will go away with time.

Another cause of blocked ears is buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can eliminate this kind of clog, depending on the seriousness, this can be at home or at the hearing professional. Here are some suggestions when dealing with plugged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to break up earwax blockages, but it must be placed in your ear correctly. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to slowly put it in your ear is the expert’s suggestion. Your ear should be tilted upward while you put 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 clog. Ultimately, the blockage should clear but you might need to repeat the process for a few days.

Don’t Stick Anything Inside Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: don’t use a cotton swab to try to unblock your ear, because you will only cause things to get worse. Cotton swabs actually push earwax deeper into your ear canal, which can cause a complete blockage. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, cause an earwax clog. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear in order to avoid causing blockage.

Your Allergies Should be Treated

If you have allergies, it can make a blocked ear worse. Always take your allergy medications and follow your doctor’s directions on how to treat it. Stay away from any unneeded allergens, especially during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Stay Clear of it

You should not stick a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific technique of removing earwax by sticking a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The belief is that the heat of the flame causes a vacuum which forces the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This does not work and you will probably cause a lot more damage to your ears. Don’t forget, if it sounds strange you should consult a professional. Don’t chance losing your hearing by merely trying things.

You should contact us if your ears don’t clear up. Long-term hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum are the sorts of repercussions 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.
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