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

You try to swallow hard and yawn but it’s no use, your ears are clogged and you can’t do anything about it. You’ve attempted chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. Eventually, you may contemplate giving up and just keep your fingers crossed your ear clears up by itself. And truthfully, you wouldn’t be incorrect to attempt to wait a little bit to see if the problem clears up by itself unless, of course, you have discomfort, drainage, or other symptoms of an infection.

A small passageway that connects the middle ear to the space behind the nose and controls the pressure to the ears, called the eustachain tube, will get plugged if it remains closed or open for too long. The tube normally closes and opens as you yawn or swallow, which you might notice by a crackling sound or pop in your ears. Typical hormonal changes cause the ear to remain open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to stay closed. It could take your ears a little while to return to normal but both issues will recede with time.

Plugged ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. This type of ear blockage can be eliminated with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its seriousness. When dealing with plugged ears, here are some tips:

Try Droplets of Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be applied to break up earwax clogs, but it must be put in your ear properly. Hearing experts suggest that you mix the solution with warm water making certain that the water is not too hot and then putting a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. Your ear should be tilted upward as you put the drops into your ear and you should stay that way for several seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to break down the earwax clog. Eventually, the clog should clear up but you might have to repeat the process for several days.

Never Clean Your Ear by Sticking Something in it

This can’t be overstated: it will only make the predicament worse if you attempt to use a cotton swab to clean your ears. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper inside your ear canal, which can cause a complete blockage. As a matter of fact, anything that gets inserted in your ears may lead to an earwax block, and that includes hearing aids and earplugs. In order to avoid earwax buildup, you should use cotton swabs only on the outer ear.

Treat Your Allergies

If you have allergies, it can cause a clogged ear to get worse. Take your allergy medications and follow your doctor’s directions on how to manage it. Unneeded allergens should be limited during allergy season particularly but also the rest of the year.

Be Hesitant of Home Remedies That Sound Weird

We probably shouldn’t need to tell you this, but you really should never stick a lit candle in your ear to clean out an earwax blockage. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific technique of removing earwax by inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it. In theory, earwax is pulled into the hollow space in the candle when the heat of the flame creates a vacuum. This technique will likely cause more injury and probably won’t do any good. Remember, if it sounds strange you should consult an expert. Randomly trying anything is a massive risk to your hearing.

You should give us a call if your ears don’t clear up. Improper wax removal can result in serious issues in your ears, like a burst eardrum or irreversible loss of hearing.