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How to Unclog a Clogged Ear


A clogged ear can be a real drag. If you’ve ever suffered from this common occurrence, you know just how bothersome it can be. From hearing loss to ear pain, clogged ears are no laughing matter. While children are more prone to experiencing a clogged ear, adults are not immune to it. In some instances, both ears can be affected by this illness.

Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged?

There are actually several factors that can come into play, resulting in a clogged ear. In your ear is a canal known as the Eustachian tube. This tube connects your middle ear to your throat and nasal cavity. When the Eustachian tube gets too much earwax in it, your ear can feel clogged up.

Eustachian Tube Anatomy

For the most part, your Eustachian tubes stay closed. The only time the Eustachian tubes open is when you swallow, yawn, or chew food. This action allows your airways to open along with the middle ear.

When swimming, bathing, or showering, it is possible for water to get trapped inside your ear canal. This can result in your ear feeling like there’s something tickling the inside of it. With your ear plugged up by water, you may feel an odd sensation that extends from jaw to your throat.


A sinus infection is another common issue people face what leads to clogged ears. So common, in fact, that some 31 million Americans suffer from it each year. If you have ear pain due to a sinus infection, you are not alone. This often happens when your sinus trouble has caused too much mucus to form, thereby blocking the openings in our sinus cavity.

Middle ear infections can make your ears feel clogged when too much bacteria inflames your inner ear canal. Your clogged ears can result in hearing loss, ear infection, and ears plugged up. Oftentimes, you may notice a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms, including irritability, trouble sleeping, fever, cough, discharge from ears, nausea, and more.

If this happens to you, be sure to seek medical advice immediately. The sooner you can see a doctor, the better chance you have of getting better. Ear infections of any find are serious matters that need a doctor to properly treat. The doctor may also help you in reducing the pain, discomfort, and hearing loss associated with the ear infection.

Pressure Change

Pressure changes caused by higher altitudes are also responsible for making your ears feel clogged. Many people experience this sensation when they fly or travel or locations that are higher than where they normally live.


And lastly, allergies are another culprit in causing your ears to feel clogged. You may experience a wide variety of symptoms depending on the allergies you are suffering from. You may need to see your family doctor if symptoms persist.

With some allergies, however, you may find over-the-counter medications that relieve your symptoms. If you notice that your inner ear feels clogged, whether it is from allergies or the other culprits listed above, you may need to try to unclog it on your own. Let’s explore some handy tips that will teach you how to unclog ear buildup.

How to Unclog an Ear

q tip in ear

Fortunately, there are many methods you can employ to help reduce or eliminate your clogged ears. The great thing about these helpful tips is that they can be done in the comfort of your own home, potentially saving you from having to go to the doctor.

Valsalva Maneuver

Also known as “nasal popping”, the Valsalva maneuver serves to help open up your Eustachian tubes. To perform this method, hold your nose closed and try to blow. You want to be sure to keep your lips tightly sealed when doing this, as you don’t want any air to escape through your nose or mouth. Just be sure that you don’t blow too hard, as you could possibly injure your eardrums.

The Valsalva maneuver is best performed after a pressure change occurs. It’s important to note that this won’t help alleviate clogged ears caused by an infection or illness. For help with that, keep reading to learn more tips.

Nasal Spray/Decongestant

Often used as a preventive measure, nasal sprays are useful when you’re experiencing congestion in your sinus cavity. Many people who regularly fly rely on oral decongestants to keep the feeling of clogged ears at bay and to make flying more enjoyable.


If your ear is blocked due to too much wax buildup, irrigating your ear may help. There are over-the-counter kits that allow you to perform this at home, or your medical provider can do it for you. This process involves placing drops in your ear for a few days, gradually softening the earwax.

Once the buildup is sufficiently softened, a syringe is used to draw out the soft, loosened earwax. After the irrigation is complete, your ear will need to be flushed out with saline or water.

Mineral Oil

This handy solution is widely used among sufferers of a clogged ear. Mineral oil is most effective when it is heated up and applied to the inside of the ear. For best results, use a dropper to ensure that you get all of the mineral oil in your ear’s canal.

Just be sure not to get the oil too hot. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your skin doesn’t have an allergic reaction to the oil before administering it into your ear. You may test out a few drops in your wrist or hand to ensure that it is safe for use.

Once applied, be sure that you keep your head to the side for a good 15 seconds. For best results, continue doing this twice a day for about 5 days. If you buy over-the-counter ear drops for your blockage, the application is virtually identical.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This is an age-old trick that has served people well for years. Simply dip a cotton swab into some hydrogen peroxide and gently insert it into your ear. You will experience an itching sensation, but try not to touch your ear. Let the peroxide work into your ear. Keep repeating until the blockage is eliminated.

Warm Compress

warm compress on ear

As you can see, there are many ways to relieve a clogged ear. If you’re dealing with an infection and none of the above options are available to you, try taking a hot shower for at least 10 minutes to allow the steam to work in your ear. A hot compress is another quick and easy way to achieve the same results. With persistence, you can reduce your blockage until you are able to seek additional assistance.

© 2020. All rights reserved.

™ 2020. All rights reserved.

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