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

You try swallowing hard and yawning but to no avail, your ears are clogged and you can’t do anything about it. You’ve tried popping your ear, chewing gum, or trying to open your ear canal with your finger. Hoping your ears will simply clear up by themselves, eventually, you might just stop trying. And honestly, you wouldn’t be incorrect to try waiting a little bit to see if the situation clears up on its own unless, of course, you have soreness, discharge, or other symptoms of an infection.

A little passageway that connects the middle ear to the place behind the nose and controls the pressure that goes the ears, called the eustachian tube, will get plugged if it remains open or closed for too long. You may hear a crackling or popping noise in your ears as this tube closes and opens when you swallow or yawn. Normal hormonal changes cause the ear to stay open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to remain closed. Both issues will clear up over time, but it could take quite a long time for your ears to return to normal.

Blocked ears can also be caused by a buildup of earwax. Ear treatment can clear this type of blockage, depending on the seriousness, this can be at home or at the hearing specialist. Here are a few guidelines when dealing with plugged ears:

Try Drops of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly used, can dissolve earwax. Hearing specialists recommend that you mix the solution with warm water making certain that the water is not too hot and then place 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 enough to dissolve the wax clog. You could have to repeat this several times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the clog should clear up.

Never Clean Your Ear by Putting Something in it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: never use a cotton swab to try to unclog your ear, because you will only cause things to get worse. Cotton swabs can cause total blockage by pushing the earwax into the eardrum. Even earplugs and hearing aids can, in fact, cause an earwax blockage. In order to prevent earwax accumulation, you should only use cotton swabs on your outer ear.

Treat Your Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, it can cause a clogged ear to get worse. Always take your allergy treatments and follow your doctor’s directions on how to deal with it. Steer clear of any unnecessary allergens, particularly during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Avoid it

It probably goes without saying, but you certainly should never stick a lit candle in your ear to get rid of an earwax blockage. Ear candling is an old and very pseudo-scientific way of removing earwax by sticking a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it. The idea is that the heat of the flame causes a vacuum which draws 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 seem right, it most likely isn’t and it’s best to seek advice from a professional. Don’t chance losing your hearing by simply trying anything.

You should call us if all else fails. Irreversible hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum are the kinds of consequences you could suffer from incorrect earwax removal.