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

We’ve all been there, the unpleasant 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 just clear up on their own, at some point you may just give up. But if you have discharge, discomfort, or the symptoms of an ear infection, this would be an unwise idea.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that links your middle ear to the space behind your nose and regulates the air pressure level in your ears, can become blocked if it stays closed or open for too long. The tube normally opens and closes 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 stay closed, while hormonal changes can make the ear remain open. It may take your ears a little while to return to normal but both problems will recede over time.

Clogged ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this type of blockage, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its intensity. Here are some suggestions when dealing with clogged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide can be utilized to dissolve earwax clogs, but it must be placed in your ear correctly. Hearing specialists recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water isn’t too hot and then putting a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. After you turn your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be sufficient to break up the wax clog. You may need to do this several times a day for a couple of days, but eventually, the blockage should clear.

Don’t Put Anything Inside Your Ear to Clean it

This can’t be overstated: don’t use a cotton swab to try and clean 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. As a matter of fact, anything that is inserted in your ears could cause an earwax block, and that includes hearing aids and earplugs. Cotton swabs should be used only on your outer ear so that you can steer clear of blockage.

Your Allergies Need to be Dealt With

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

If a Remedy Sounds Strange, Stay Clear of it

We probably shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you really should not stick a lit candle in your ear to clean out an earwax clog. Ear candling is an old method of sticking a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is extremely unscientific. The belief is that the heat from the flame produces a vacuum which pulls the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This method will most likely cause more injury and probably won’t do any good. If something doesn’t sound accurate, it probably isn’t and it’s best to seek advice from a professional. Don’t chance losing your hearing by just trying anything.

You should call us if your ears don’t clear up. Long-term hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could suffer from inappropriate earwax removal.