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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 yawning and swallowing can make it feel better. You’ve tried opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Hoping your ears will just unclog on their own, at some point you may just stop trying. But if you have drainage, pain, or the signs of an ear infection, this would be an unwise idea.

A small passageway that links the middle ear to the space behind the nose and controls the pressure to the ears, called the eustachian tube, will become blocked if it stays closed or open for too long. The tube naturally opens and closes as you yawn or swallow, which you might notice by a crackling sound or pop in your ears. A virus, allergy or sinus infection could possibly cause the ear to remain closed, while hormonal changes can cause the ear to remain open. Both issues will go away over time, but it may take quite a long time 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 clog, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its severity. Here are a few recommendations when dealing with clogged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly applied, can dissolve earwax. Hearing professionals 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 in your ear with a dropper. Your ear should be tipped upward while you place the drops in your ear and you should stay that way for several seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to break down the earwax clog. You may have to do this several times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the clog should clear.

Never Clean Your Ear by Putting Something in it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: never use a cotton swab to try to unblock your ear, because you will only worsen the problem. Cotton swabs can cause complete blockage by pushing the earwax into the eardrum. As a matter of fact, anything that is inserted in your ears can lead to an earwax blockage, and that includes hearing aids and earplugs. Cotton swabs should be used only on your outer ear in order to steer clear of blockage.

Manage Your Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, it can make a blocked ear worse. Follow your doctor’s instructions concerning managing your allergies and don’t forget to take your medication. Avoid any unnecessary allergens, particularly during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Stay Away From it

You shouldn’t stick a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old and very unscientific way of removing earwax by inserting a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it. The belief is that the heat from the flame creates a vacuum which forces the earwax into the hollow space in the candle. This does not work and you will probably cause a lot more damage to your ears. If something doesn’t sound accurate, it probably isn’t and it’s best to contact an expert. Randomly trying anything is a huge risk to your hearing.

When all else fails, you should contact us. Irreversible loss of hearing or a ruptured eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could sustain from improper earwax removal.

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