Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

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 opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Hoping your ears will just unclog by themselves, at some point you may just give up. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to attempt to wait a while to see if the situation clears up on its own unless, of course, you have soreness, drainage, or other symptoms of an infection.

A little passageway that connects the middle ear to the place behind the nose and controls the pressure that goes the ears, called the eustachian tube, will get plugged if it remains closed or open for too long. 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 stay open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to remain closed. It may take your ears a while to return to normal but both issues will go away with time.

Another cause of clogged ears is buildup of earwax. This type of ear clog can be cleared with treatments, depending on the severeness, this can be at home or at the hearing professional. Here are a few tips when dealing with clogged ears:

You Can Try Putting Hydrogen Peroxide Drops in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be utilized to break up earwax clogs, but it must be applied in your ear correctly. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a dropper to gradually put it in your ear is the professional’s recommendation. Your ear should be turned upward as you put the drops in your ear and you should stay that way for a few seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the earwax blockage. Eventually, the blockage should clear up but you might have to repeat the process for several days.

Never Clean Your Ear by Sticking Something inside it

This can’t be overstated: it will only make the situation worse if you try to use a cotton swab to clear your ears. Cotton swabs can cause complete blockage by forcing the earwax into the eardrum. Actually, anything that is inserted in your ears can possibly result in an earwax obstruction, 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 have allergies, it can cause a blocked ear to get worse. Follow your doctor’s directions about how to treat your allergies and don’t forget to take your treatment. Steer clear of any unnecessary allergens, especially during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Avoid it

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you certainly should never stick a lit candle in your ear in order to clean out a clog caused by wax. Ear candling is an old technique of inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. The belief is that the heat of the flame produces a vacuum which pulls the earwax into the hollow space in the candle. This doesn’t work and you will likely cause a lot more harm to your ears. If something doesn’t sound correct, it most likely isn’t and it’s best to contact an expert. Arbitrarily trying anything is a huge risk to your hearing.

If you don’t find any other solution, you should call us. Incorrect wax removal can cause severe problems in your ears, like a ruptured eardrum or long-term hearing loss.

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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