Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

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

We’ve all had the experience, the unpleasant 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 by themselves, eventually, you might just stop trying. And truthfully, 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, drainage, or other symptoms of an infection.

A small passageway that links the middle ear to the place behind the nose and controls the pressure that goes the ears, called the eustachian tube, will get clogged if it remains open or closed for too long. You might notice a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube closes and opens when you swallow or yawn. A virus, allergy or sinus infection might cause the ear to remain closed, while hormonal changes can cause the ear to remain open. Both concerns will go away over time, but it may take quite a while for your ears to return to normal.

Another cause of clogged ears is buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this type of clog, depending on the severeness, this can be at home or at the hearing specialist. When dealing with plugged ears, here are some tips:

You Can Try Dripping Hydrogen Peroxide Drops in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly used, can dissolve earwax. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a dropper to slowly 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 dissolve the wax clog. You could have to repeat this several times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the clog should clear up.

Don’t Stick Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth restating: never use a cotton swab to try to unclog your ear, because you will only cause things to get worse. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper inside your ear canal, which can cause a total blockage. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, result in an earwax clog. To lessen earwax buildup, you should use cotton swabs only on the outer ear.

Pay Attention to Your Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, it can make a plugged ear worse. Follow your doctor’s advice regarding dealing with your allergies and don’t forget to take your medication. Unnecessary allergens should be limited during allergy season particularly but also the rest of the year.

Be Leery of Home Remedies That Sound Weird

It probably goes without saying, but you certainly should not stick a lit candle in your ear in order to clean out an earwax blockage. Ear candling is an old and very unscientific way of removing earwax by putting a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it. The belief is that the heat from the flame causes a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow space in the candle. This approach will most likely cause more damage and probably won’t do any good. Always remember, if it sounds strange you should consult an expert. Don’t chance damaging your hearing by simply trying things.

You should give us a call if your ears don’t clear up. Irreversible hearing loss or a burst eardrum are the kinds of repercussions you could suffer from improper 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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