Hearing Services of Nashville

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 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 just unclog on their own, at some point you might just stop trying. And honestly, you wouldn’t be wrong to attempt to wait a little bit to see if the situation goes away on its own unless, of course, you have pain, drainage, or other signs of an infection.

A little passageway that connects the middle ear to the place behind the nose and regulates the pressure to the ears, called the eustachian tube, will get plugged if it remains open or closed for too long. The tube normally closes and opens as you yawn or swallow, which you might notice by a crackling noise or pop in your ears. A virus, allergy or sinus infection might cause the ear to remain closed, while hormonal changes can cause the ear to remain open. Both problems will go away over time, but it might take quite a while for your ears to return to normal.

Plugged ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can eliminate this type of blockage, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its severity. Here are a few guidelines when dealing with plugged ears:

Try Droplets of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly used, can break up earwax. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a dropper to carefully put it in your ear is the expert’s recommendation. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be enough to break up the wax blockage. You might have to repeat this several times a day for a couple of days, but eventually, the blockage should clear up.

Sticking Something in Your Ear is Not The Right Way to Clean it

This can’t be overstated: don’t use a cotton swab to try and unclog your ear, because you will only make things worse. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper into your ear canal, which can cause a total blockage. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, result in an earwax blockage. In order to lessen earwax accumulation, you should only use cotton swabs on your outer ear.

Manage Your Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, it can make a blocked ear worse. Always take your allergy medicines and follow your doctor’s instructions on how to treat it. Unneeded allergens should be avoided during allergy season particularly but also the rest of the year.

Be Suspicious of Home Remedies That Sound Weird

You shouldn’t put a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old and very unscientific method of clearing earwax by sticking a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. The idea is that the heat from the flame creates a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This doesn’t work and you will probably cause a lot more injury to your ears. Keep in mind, if it sounds wrong you should ask a specialist. Don’t risk damaging your hearing by merely trying anything.

If you don’t find any other solution, you should give us a call. Lasting loss of hearing or a burst eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could experience from inappropriate earwax removal.

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