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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 to no avail, your ears are clogged and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve tried chewing gum, popping your ears, and opening your ear canal with your finger. Sooner or later, you might contemplate giving up and just keep your fingers crossed your ear unclogs by itself. But if you have drainage, soreness, or the signs of an ear infection, this would be a bad idea.

A small passageway that connects the middle ear to the place behind the nose and regulates the pressure that goes the ears, called the eustachian tube, will become blocked if it stays closed or open for overly long. The tube naturally closes and opens as you yawn or swallow, which you may 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 stay open. Both problems will clear up 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. This type of ear clog can be cleared with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its intensity. When dealing with clogged ears, here are some tips:

You Can Try Putting Hydrogen Peroxide Drops into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if properly applied, can break up earwax. Mixing the peroxide with luke warm water and using a pipette to gradually put it in your ear is the specialist’s recommendation. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be sufficient to break up the wax clog. Eventually, the blockage should clear up but you may have to repeat the process for several days.

Don’t Stick Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

Seriously, this is worth repeating: don’t use a cotton swab to try to unclog your ear, because you will only make things worse. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper inside your ear canal, which can cause a complete blockage. In fact, anything that is inserted in your ears can possibly result in an earwax blockage, and that includes hearing aids and earplugs. In order to avoid earwax accumulation, you should only use cotton swabs on the outer ear.

Treat Your Allergies

Clogged ears are often made worse by allergies. Take your allergy medications and follow your doctor’s directions on how to treat it. Stay away from any unnecessary allergens, particularly during allergy season.

If a Remedy Sounds Strange, Stay Clear of it

You shouldn’t put a lit candle in your ear which should go without saying. Ear candling is an old method of inserting a hollow candle into your ear and lighting it which is very unscientific. The belief is that the heat from the flame creates a vacuum which draws the earwax into the hollow space in the candle. This technique will likely cause more damage and probably won’t do any good. Don’t forget, if it sounds strange you should ask a specialist. Don’t risk losing your hearing by simply trying anything.

You should contact us if all else fails. Long lasting hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum are the kinds of repercussions you could suffer from improper earwax removal.