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How to Clear a Clogged Ear

What is Clogged Ear?

Clogged ear is congestion in the middle ear that is irritating and sometimes may be painful. Ear wax build up is the normal cause of ears to clog. Other factors contributing for the ears to clog are jaw tension, infection, allergies, sinus pressure and invasion of foreign objects such as small beads that were accidentally put inside the ears. Home remedies can be done for clogged ears which may be caused by ear wax build up except for other factors that may need a help or assistance from a health care provider. It is important to identify first the cause of ear congestion before trying to remove it; otherwise the clog may just go deeper and may result to further damage in the ears. Normally, people of all age can suffer from clogging ears.

Ear is part of the auditory system and organ that detects sounds. The ear contributes greatly to the balance and body position. It is a flap of tissue also called pinna. Middle ear is part of the ear that is air-filled cavity situated behind the ear drum or the tympanic membrane. The middle ear is where clogging of ears happen. The usual or common cause for ears to clog is the buildup of ear wax or compacted ear wax.

Ear wax is also called cerumen that is provided in the ear canal. It is a mixture of viscous secretion from sebaceous glands and less-viscous secretion from modified apocrine sweat glands. Ear wax or cerumen is determined into two types which is the wet type which is the dominant and the dry type which is recessive. The ear wax functions to provide lubrication of the ear canal and prevents infection. However, having excessive ear wax is not good but having no ear wax is no good either.

It is vital to identify the cause of clogged ears prior to removal. If the clog is due to wax build up, it can be removed from the confines of home through removal kits that are readily available. It is best to see and consult a health professional if the cause of clog is fluid buildup and other factor such as allergies and infections.

clogged ear picture

Picture showing ear anatomy and foreign object

How to Unclog Ears?

If clogging is due to wax build up it is better to flush the clogged ear and this can be done at home. Using cotton buds can only worsen the clogging and flushing is the best way to unclog it.
Steps in flushing ears:

Gather and prepare the things needed:

  • Bulb syringe
  • Small clean towel
  • Cup
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Clean warm water
  1. Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide in the cup. Hydrogen peroxide is a weak acid and is safe to use in a wide variety of purposes.
  2. Fill the bulb syringe with enough amount of hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Squirt the hydrogen peroxide into the ear with the head tilted.
  4. Softly tug the outer ear to facilitate passage of solution into the ear canal.
  5. Lie on side position for 10-15 minutes to give the solution some time to penetrate and loosen the ear wax and also to prevent the solution from spilling out of the ear. As the wax are loosening the hydrogen peroxide will pop and sizzle signaling breakdown of wax. A cold sensation will be felt as the blockage is broken apart and the solution reaches the recess of the ear canal.
  6. Get up after 10-15 minutes to with head continually in a tilted position and drain the solution while holding a small clean towel to keep the neck and clothes from getting wet.
  7. Tilt the head on opposite direction toward the sink to drain the ear.
  8. Fill the bulb syringe with clean warm water to wash out the loosened wax. Squirt the water into the ear to flush bits of ear wax that has been loosened. An immediate relief will be felt after draining the ear.
  9. Dry the ear and repeat the procedure on the other ear.

An ear clogged brought by an allergy or infection can only be relieved with a help of a doctor. Antihistamine and nasal decongestant are normally prescribed for ear clogs caused by allergies. However, if the cause of clog is due to an underlying medical condition, further tests and treatment will be advised.

Clogged ears due to increase otic pressure such as plane flights, mountain climbing and deep sea diving can be removed by:

  • Yawning
  • Gum chewing
  • Swallowing

A clogged ear can be a hinder to one’s daily activity or activities as this cause discomfort. Some of the sensation or feeling an individual with clogged ears can experience are listed below:

Feeling of Clogged Ear

  1. Itchiness are often felt
  2. Underwater feeling
  3. Impaired balance or dizziness
  4. Reduced hearing or inability to hear properly
  5. Amplified sound can be heard internally
  6. Ringing sensation in the ear

There are however, home remedies that can be done to clear clogged ears and some of them are listed below:

Clogged Ear Home Remedies

There are many home remedies that can help relive clogged ears and the solutions to use are widely available in the market. Effective maneuvers or exercises can also be done.

  1. A mixed solution in equal parts of cider vinegar and alcohol to flush the ear.
  2. Use mineral oil putting a few drops.
  3. Olive oil warmed in the pan can also be drop in the ears to soften wax buildup.
  4. Clogged ears due to pressure buildup can be helped through yawning, swallowing and chewing of gums.
  5. Steam from hot water will unclog the ear and balances the pressure inside the ear cavity.

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