Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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

We’ve all experienced this, the annoying feeling when your ear is clogged and no amount of swallowing and yawning can help it. You’ve tried opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Hoping your ears will simply clear up on their own, at some point you might just stop trying. But if you have discharge, pain, or the symptoms of an ear infection, this would be an unwise idea.

Your Eustachian tube, a little passageway that attaches your middle ear to the space behind your nose and controls the air pressure in your ears, can become plugged 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 opens and closes when you swallow or yawn. A virus, allergy or sinus infection could possibly cause the ear to remain closed, while hormonal changes can cause the ear to remain open. It might take your ears a while to go back to normal but both problems will recede with time.

Blocked ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can eliminate this type of clog, depending on the severity, this can be at home or at the hearing professional. Here are some tips when dealing with plugged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be utilized to break up earwax blockages, but it must be placed in your ear properly. Hearing experts suggest that you mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water is not too hot and then place a drop or two into your ear with a pipette. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be sufficient to dissolve the wax blockage. You could need to do this a few times a day for a couple of days, but eventually, the blockage should clear up.

Don’t Stick Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: it will only make the situation worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clean your ears. Cotton swabs can cause total blockage by pushing the earwax against the eardrum. Actually, anything that is inserted in your ears may cause an earwax obstruction, including hearing aids and earplugs. In order to prevent earwax accumulation, you should use cotton swabs only on your outer ear.

Manage Your Allergies

Plugged ears are often made worse by allergies. Follow your doctor’s directions concerning managing your allergies and never forget to take your treatment. Unnecessary allergens should be avoided during allergy season especially but also the rest of the year.

Be Hesitant of Home Remedies That Sound Weird

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you certainly should not put a lit candle into your ear to get rid of an earwax clog. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific method of clearing earwax by putting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The thought is that the heat of the flame produces a vacuum which forces the earwax into the hollow space in the candle. This approach will probably cause more damage and probably won’t help. Don’t forget, if it sounds wrong you should ask a professional. Randomly trying things is a massive risk to your hearing.

You should contact us if your ears don’t clear up. Long lasting loss of hearing or a burst eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could sustain from improper earwax removal.

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