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

We’ve all experienced this, the uncomfortable feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of yawning and swallowing 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 simply clear up on their own, at some point you may just give up. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to attempt to wait a little bit to see if the problem goes away by itself unless, of course, you have pain, discharge, or other signs of an infection.

Your Eustachian tube, a little passageway that connects your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure in your ears, can become clogged if it stays open or closed for too long. You may notice a crackling or popping noise in your ears as this tube opens and closes when you yawn or swallow. A virus or sinus infection might cause the ear to remain closed, while hormonal changes can make the ear remain open. Both issues will clear up over time, but it may take quite a long time for your ears to return to normal.

Another cause of clogged ears is buildup of earwax. This type of ear blockage can be eliminated with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its severity. When dealing with clogged ears, here are some suggestions:

You Can Try Dripping Hydrogen Peroxide Drops in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly used, can break up earwax. Hearing experts recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water is not too hot and then place a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. After you turn your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be enough to break up the wax clog. Ultimately, the clog should clear but you might need to repeat the process for several days.

Don’t Stick Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: it will only make the situation worse if you try to use a cotton swab to clear your ears. Cotton swabs can cause total blockage by forcing the earwax into the eardrum. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, cause an earwax clog. In order to lessen earwax accumulation, you should use cotton swabs only on your outer ear.

Your Allergies Should be Dealt With

Plugged ears are commonly made worse by allergies. Always take your allergy treatments and follow your doctor’s directions on how to treat it. Steer clear of any unnecessary allergens, specifically during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Stay Away From it

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you certainly should not stick a lit candle in your ear in order to clean out a clog caused by wax. Ear candling is an old method of inserting a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it which is very unscientific. The theory is that earwax is pulled into the hollow space inside the candle when the heat of the flame causes a vacuum. This method will most likely cause more damage and probably won’t help at all. If something doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t and it’s best to seek advice from an expert. Randomly trying anything is a big risk to your hearing.

You should contact us if all else fails. Unconventional wax removal can cause significant problems in your ears, like a ruptured eardrum or lasting loss of hearing.

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