Edison Stanford Intelligent Hearing - Salt Lake City, Draper, and Provo, UT

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 you can’t do anything about it. You’ve tried opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ears, and chewing gum. Hoping your ears will simply unclog by themselves, at some point you might just give up. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to try waiting a while to see if the problem clears up on its own unless, of course, you have soreness, drainage, or other signs of an infection.

A small passageway that connects the middle ear to the space behind the nose and controls the pressure that goes the ears, called the eustachian tube, will get blocked if it stays closed or open for overly long. The tube normally opens and closes as you yawn or swallow, which you might 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 make the ear remain open. It might take your ears a little while to go back to normal but both problems will go away over time.

Another cause of plugged ears is buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this kind of blockage, depending on the severity, this can be at home or at the hearing professional. When dealing with plugged ears, here are some suggestions:

You Can Try Putting Hydrogen Peroxide Drops in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly applied, can dissolve earwax. Hearing professionals recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water isn’t too hot and then putting a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be enough to break up the wax clog. You might need to repeat this a few times a day for a couple of days, but eventually, the blockage should clear.

Never Clean Your Ear by Putting Something in it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: it will only make the predicament worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clear your ears. Cotton swabs can cause total blockage by forcing the earwax into the eardrum. As a matter of fact, anything that is inserted in your ears can easily result in an earwax block, and that includes hearing aids and earplugs. Cotton swabs should be used only on your outer ear in order to avoid causing blockage.

Treat Your Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, it can cause a blocked ear to get worse. Take your allergy medications and follow your doctor’s directions on how to manage it. Unnecessary allergens should be definitely avoided during allergy season specifically but also the rest of the year.

Be Suspicious of Home Remedies That Sound Strange

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you certainly should never stick a lit candle in your ear to clean out an earwax clog. Ear candling is an old technique of inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. The thought is that the heat of the flame causes a vacuum which forces the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This approach will likely cause more harm and probably won’t help. Keep in mind, if it sounds strange you should consult a professional. Randomly trying anything is a massive risk to your hearing.

When all else fails, you should contact us. Unconventional wax removal can trigger severe problems in your ears, like a burst eardrum or irreversible loss of hearing.

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