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

We’ve all had the experience, the annoying feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of swallowing and yawning can help it. You’ve attempted popping your ear, chewing gum, or trying to open your ear canal with your finger. Sooner or later, you may consider giving up and just keep your fingers crossed your ear clears up on its own. But if you have discharge, soreness, or the signs of an ear infection, this would be a bad idea.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that attaches your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure in your ears, can get clogged if it stays open or closed for longer than it should. You may notice a crackling or popping noise in your ears as this tube closes and opens 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 concerns will clear up with time, but it may take quite a long time for your ears to get back to normal.

Another cause of plugged ears is buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this kind of clog, either at home or in our office depending on its seriousness. Here are a few guidelines when dealing with plugged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be applied to break up earwax blockages, but it must be put in your ear properly. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to gradually put it in your ear is the professional’s suggestion. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be sufficient to dissolve the wax blockage. Eventually, the blockage should clear but you might have to repeat the process for a few days.

Never Clean Your Ear by Sticking Something inside it

This can’t be overstated: it will only make the predicament worse if you try to use a cotton swab to clear your ears. Cotton swabs can cause total blockage by forcing the earwax against the eardrum. In fact, anything that gets inserted in your ears could lead to an earwax blockage, and that includes hearing aids and earplugs. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear in order to steer clear of blockage.

Your Allergies Should be Dealt With

Plugged ears are usually made worse by allergies. Always take your allergy treatments and follow your doctor’s directions on how to treat it. Stay away from any unneeded allergens, particularly during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Strange, Stay Away From it

You shouldn’t put a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old and very unscientific technique of clearing earwax by sticking a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The belief is that the heat of the flame creates a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow space in the candle. This doesn’t work and you will most likely cause a lot more harm to your ears. If something doesn’t seem correct, it probably isn’t and it’s best to call us. Randomly trying anything is a huge danger to your hearing.

When all else fails, you should get in touch with us. Incorrect wax removal can trigger serious issues in your ears, like a ruptured eardrum or permanent loss of hearing.

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.