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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 opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. At some point, you might contemplate giving up and just keep your fingers crossed your ear clears up on its own. But if you have discharge, soreness, or the signs of an ear infection, this would be a bad idea.

Your Eustachian tube, a small passageway that attaches your middle ear to the space behind your nose and controls the air pressure level in your ears, can become blocked if it stays closed or open for longer than it should. You might notice a popping and crackling noise in your ears as this tube closes and opens when you yawn or swallow. A virus or sinus infection could cause the ear to stay closed, while hormonal changes can make the ear remain open. It might take your ears a while to return to normal but both problems will go away over time.

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

Try Droplets of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly applied, can break up earwax. Hearing specialists suggest that you mix the solution with warm water making certain that the water isn’t too hot and then putting a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. Your ear should be tipped upward as you put the drops into your ear and you should keep it that way for several seconds to let the hydrogen peroxide to break down the earwax clog. Eventually, the blockage should clear but you might have to repeat the process for several days.

Don’t Stick Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

This can’t be overstated: it will only make the predicament worse if you try to use a cotton swab to clean your ears. Cotton swabs can cause complete blockage by pushing the earwax into the eardrum. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, result in an earwax clog. To prevent earwax buildup, you should only use cotton swabs on your outer ear.

Your Allergies Need to be Treated

Plugged ears are usually made worse by allergies. Always take your allergy medicines and follow your doctor’s guidelines on how to manage it. Stay away from any unneeded allergens, especially during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Stay Away From it

It probably goes without saying, but you seriously should not stick a lit candle in your ear to clean out an earwax blockage. Ear candling is an old technique of sticking a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is very unscientific. The thought is that the heat of the flame produces a vacuum which pulls the earwax into the hollow tube in the candle. This technique will probably cause more injury and probably won’t do any good. Keep in mind, if it sounds wrong you should consult an expert. Arbitrarily trying anything is a huge risk to your hearing.

You should call us if your ears don’t clear up. Incorrect wax removal can lead to serious issues in your ears, like a ruptured eardrum or lasting loss of hearing.

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