Clogged ears are a major cause of concern. The feeling of having something stuffed in the ear can be bothersome and if untreated, can result to loss of hearing. An infection is also a possible outcome of a clogged ear. So to avoid any damage, it is important to attend to this problem at the earliest.
While there are quite a few treatments that can help solving this problem, understanding the causes is very crucial. So in order to make you familiar with the possibles causes and treatments for a clogged ear, we have mentioned all the details below. Have a look!
Causes Of Clogged Ears:
There can be many reasons of clogged ears. Here are some which you could identify with:
- Blocked nose: Nasal congestion or stuffy nose could lead to blocked ears.
- Building up of ear wax: Excess of ear wax production can lead to ear wax build-up and earache.
- Build up of water within the ears: Discharge of fluid and fluid build-up in the eardrum can lead to clogged ears.
- Cold: This is often the cause of sinus congestion which blocks your Eustachian tubes thereby causing clogged ears. It is like saying that clogged nose can lead to clogged ears.
- Allergy: Ears can get affected by allergies too.
- Sinus infection: This can lead to clogged ears, pain in the ears and even temporary loss of hearing.
- Altitude changes: Change in the atmospheric pressure whenever you are aboard a flight can bring a sense of discomfort to your ears.
- Swimmers’ Ear: This happens due to fluid build-up in the ear as a result of swimming underwater.
Now let us find out the symptoms that indicate clogging in ears.
[Also Read: Chewing Gum To Pop Your Ears ]
Symptoms of Clogged Ears:
These are some of the possible symptoms you could experience when you feel your ears clogged or plugged:
- Hearing trouble: This could happen due to acute ear infection as a result of the clogged ear.
- A severe earache: Inflammation in the ears can lead to unbearable ear pain.
- Itching in the ears: This is a natural outcome of ear wax build up and clogging.
- Ringing sound in the ears: The accumulation of ear fluid and feeling of fullness not only causes pain, it leads to a ringing sound.
- Feeling dizzy: Chronic infection in the ear is a natural build up of clogged ear left untreated. This causes discomfort and dizziness.
- Discharge or bleeding from the affected ear(s): A prick in the ear, damage or infection when left unattended can cause discharge and bleeding.
With the mentioned causes and symptoms, let us find out the various home remedies that can provide instant relief from the pesky problem of clogged ears.
Home Remedies For Clogged Ears:
Get a pen and paper or bookmark this page as I take you the through some of the natural and time-tested ways to sorting out the clogged ear problem.
1. Hydrogen Peroxide:
This is an excellent remedy when it comes to unclogging the ears.
What all you need: 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.
How to Do: Start with putting 2 drops of hydrogen peroxide in the affected/blocked ear.
How it Works: After putting hydrogen peroxide in your ear, you will get the sound of a hiss in your ear. This will happen for some time only. After 10 minutes, drain out the solution from your ear by tilting your head towards the other side.
Tip: When you use hydrogen peroxide in your ear in raw form, chances are it might cause infection and dizziness in some. If you already have an ear infection, then do not use this remedy. Just clean up the outer parts of your ear with it. Avoid overusing hydrogen peroxide as it can harm your eardrums too.
2. Olive Oil:
Earwax is a common cause of clogged ears. The beauty of olive oil is that it not only nourishes the skin and hair, it also softens up the earwax and removes it easily.
What all you need: Olive oil, a dropper.
How to Do: Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a pan. Using a dropper, put olive oil in your ear.
How it Works: Give lead time of 10 minutes for the oil to soften the ear wax. Then remove the oil by keeping your head in sideways position.
Tip: Use ear buds in order to take out the softened ear wax. Those of you who have the history of ear surgery should not use this technique without a medical prescription. This remedy is strictly prohibited for those who have a perforated ear drum.
3. Alcohol And Apple Cider Vinegar:
One of the reasons behind clogged ears could be a bacterial infection. Alcohol and vinegar help in combating bacteria.
What all you need: Alcohol and ACV.
How to Do: Mix alcohol and vinegar in equal measure. Lie down and put a few drops in your ears by using a dropper. Thereafter, put a cotton ball in the treated ears and avoid moving your head for a few minutes.
How it Works: Give some time for the solution to work and show results.
Tip: Patients who have a history of ear surgery should not do this technique without the aid of a medical prescription. To be strictly avoided by those patients for who have had their ear drum perforated.
One of the natural ways to unclogging your blocked ears is steam.
What all you need: Just a steamy shower.
How to Do: When you have finished your shower, stay in the steamy bathroom for a minimum of 10 minutes.
How it Works: The steam will naturally unclog your ears.
5. Valsalva Maneuver:
This exercise is meant to give relief to you from pain and clogging in the ear.
What all you need: Your clogged ear is sufficient.
How to Do: Close your mouth and pinch your nose. Breathe out the air from your nose. See to it that you do not apply too much pressure as it can end up hurting your ear drum.
How it Works: You will hear a popping sound in none other than your ear when you are blowing air out of your nose which is closed. This sound indicates that your Eustachian tubes have opened up.
Tip: If you feel dizziness while doing this exercise, then immediately stop it.
[Also Read: How to Sneeze]
6. Warm Water:
This is alternatively called a warm compress. It means heat is used to cure blocked ear since it helps loosen the ear wax.
What all you need: Heated water, a piece of cloth.
How to Do: Put the cloth soaked in warm water on your affected ear for about 10 minutes. This will help ease out the pain and cause trapped fluid to come out of your ear.
Tip: You can also use a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel and rest it on your ear or alternatively use an iron to heat a cloth piece or handkerchief and then putting it in the affected ear.
Even if you don’t feel like yawning, make it a point to yawn when you are facing clogged ears.
How to Do: Open your mouth slightly and fill it up with air. Keep doing it till you hear the sound of a pop in the ear.
How it Works: This will help redistribute the fluid in your ears and get rid of the clogged ear situation fast.
Tip: Keep repeating this procedure till the time you get relief and start to listen better.
When you do salt water gargle, it will help unclog the ears and decongest the nose.
What all you need: A glass of water, some salt.
How to Do: Make a solution by mixing salt in a glass of water. Then gargle with it for 20 seconds. Spit out the solution.
How it Works: Salt water gargle gives warmth to the respiratory system, thereby reducing the pain in clogged ears.
Tip: Repeat it till the time you get relief.
9. Chewing Gum:
An ordinary chewing gum or candy would be sufficient to open up the clogged ears.
What all you need: Any of the two between chewing gum or candy.
How to Do: Chew a gum or eat a candy.
How it Works: The sudden change in air pressure will unclog the ear by releasing the pressure excess in the ear.
10. Nasal Spray:
An allergic inflammation could lead to clogged ear. But relax, this is how you can treat it.
What all you need: Baking soda, Non-iodized salt, bulb syringe.
How to Do: Sterilise water by boiling it in a pan. Once it sets down to room temps, pour the treated water into a sterilized container. Now add 1/2 tsp each of baking soda and non-iodized salt. After mixing all the ingredients, pour the solution into a bulb syringe. Lean your head to 45 degrees and then pour some drops into your nostril. Allow the solution to drain your mouth and nose. Spit the solution if it remains in your mouth. Now blow your nose before you repeat the same exercise on your other nostril. Repeat it twice or thrice daily.
Tip: Do not store the nasal spray solution for more than 2 days.
11. Warm Cloth:
What all you need: A piece of cloth and some sunshine.
How to Do: Iron the cloth that you have picked or put it in the sunlight. Now put this sun-treated cloth under your clogged ear.
How it Works:
Tip: You can also take an optional route, wherein you need to heat some water and put a cloth in it. Squeeze water out of it and keep the heat-treated cloth on the affected ear for about 5 minutes. Now put your palm on the ear and push it like a suction cup. In few minutes, you will notice the change of clogged ear getting unclogged.
12. Tea Tree Oil:
Essential oils such as tea tree oil can be used as a steam to treat unclogged ears due to cold.
What all you need: A glass of water, Tea Tree Oil.
How to Do: Boil a glass of water, and put some drops of tea tree oil in it. When the water starts to boil, pour it gently in your affected ear.
How it Works: This method is an effective treatment for plugged ears.
Tip: See to it that the boiled solution of tea tree oil is not so warm that it damages your ear drum.
13. Garlic Oil:
Talk of natural remedies and garlic is one such nature’s find for treating clogged ears.
What all you need: 2 garlic cloves, olive oil, knife or spoon.
How to Do: Mash garlic cloves with a knife or spoon. Now put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heated pan and add the mashed garlic. Heat it for a few seconds, then turn off the flame and let it reach lukewarm level.
How it Works: Put the treated oil in your clogged ear and let it stay for a minute. Now drain the oil from your ear and experience relief.
14. Sweet Oil:
What all you need: Sweet oil only.
How to Do: Put a few drops of sweet oil in your ear and then lie down for a minute. See to it that your clogged ear is facing the ceiling, and not getting hidden under the pillow. After 5 minutes are over, drain out the oil from your ear.
15. Jaw Wriggle:
This is an exercise which helps regulate the air pressure in the ears.
What all you need: Just your mouth.
How to Do: Start jaw wriggling by widely opening your mouth. Now quickly jiggle your jaw side to the side. Keep repeating this motion until your ears pop.
How it Works: The success of this effort will show up when the excessive pressure is released from your ears.
All you need is a small balloon which makes it an effective remedy to treat clogged ears.
What all you need: Just a balloon.
How to Do: Take a small balloon and put it under one of the nostrils. Now close the second nostril and inhale through your mouth. Now shift focus on the other nostril which has the balloon and exhale.
How it Works: You need to keep exhaling till the time the ballot gets inflated. Keep doing this daily.
17. Toynbee Maneuver:
All you need is a glass of water to complete this exercise.
What all you need: A glass of water.
How to Do: First of all, sip the water. Now close your mouth and pinch the nose. At the end, swallow the water.
How it Works: Sipping the water and pinching the nose equalises your ear pressure, paving way for unclogging.
18. Garlic Paste:
Garlic, which is known for its anti-bacterial property can heal the ear infection.
What all you need: Garlic cloves, olive or mustard oil, cotton swab.
How to Do: Crush garlic cloves after peeling off the skin. Add oil to it and heat it for a few minutes. Once it cools down, pour the solution into your clogged ear by lying on your side. Use a cotton swab to hold the fluid in your ear. After a few minutes, allow the fluid to come out of your ear. Do it on a regular basis to get faster relief. Alternatively, you can add a couple of peeled garlic cloves to a glass of water.
Remove the cloves after heating them for 10-15 minutes. Now is the time to crush these cloves into a paste and add 1/2 tsp salt to it. Put this paste on a thin cloth and wrap it, and then put it on the affected ear. Compress it for a few minutes.
How it Works: Repeat the suggested ways twice or thrice a day to get results.
19. Glycerin And Baby Oil:
Two of the gentlest things for skin – glycerine and baby oil are of good use when it comes to treating plugged ears.
What all you need: Glycerin, Baby Oil, Hydrogen peroxide.
How to Do: Mix few drops of glycerine and baby oil in hot water. Add hydrogen peroxide in the same measure. Now pour few drops of this prepared solution in the affected ear.
How it Works: In all probability, you will hear the sound of bubbles in the treated ear.
Tip: When the sound stops, drain out the solution from the ear. Use this technique thrice a day to get best results.
20. Sunflower Oil:
Sunflower oil is a good lubricant and gives relief from itchy ear or throat.
What all you need: Sunflower oil, warm water
How to Do: Mix 1-2 tsp of sunflower oil in warm water.
How it Works: When you gargle with this solution and spit it out, you will feel relief within a few days.
21. Clove Oil:
We all know the humble clove and its pain-relieving ability in tooth problems and infections. Same is the case when you are fighting a clogged ear.
What all you need: Olive oil, crushed cloves.
How to Do: Heat 1/4th cup of olive oil in a vessel. Add some crushed cloves. Let it cool down for 15 minutes to half an hour. Pour a few drops of this treated clove oil in the ear. Give it 10 minutes lead time to let it work. Repeat this twice or thrice a day.
22. Jalapeno Slices:
One of the natural ways to say goodbye to clogged ears is by eating jalapeno slices.
What all you need: Couple of slices of Jalapeno.
How to Do: You need to eat jalapeno slices.
How it Works: The moment you eat slices of jalapeno, you will hear the sound of ear popping. Which means it is the sound of pressure release inside your ear.
23. Mineral Oil Drops:
Unclogging your blocked ears of ear wax becomes easy when you put mineral oil drops in them.
What all you need: Mineral Oil.
How to Do: Pour a few drops of mineral oil in your clogged ear by using a dropper.
How it Works: When you put mineral oil in your clogged ears, it softens the ear wax helping clear out the debris in your ear.
Tip: Repeat this exercise for 3-4 days to get effective results.
24. Mint Leaves:
The culinary ingredient mint leaves prove it’s worth in treating the clogged ears.
What all you need: Mint leaves, some salt, and water.
How to Do: Heat some water and add mint leaves and salt into it. Cover the vessel with a towel and inhale the steam for 10-15 minutes.
How it Works: The steam effect softens the clogged ears.
Tip: Do this home remedy before going off to sleep at night. Don’t put your face directly into the heated vessel or else it might burn your face. Also, wash your face after you are through with it as the skin is likely to become tender due to the salt.
25. Witch Hazel:
What all you need: 1/4 cup of witch hazel leaves, comfrey leaves (dried), water, glass, syringe bulb.
How to Do: Boil witch hazel leaves, and comfrey leaves in 2 cups water for 5 minutes. After it cools down, strain the mixture into a glass. Now empty the contents in a syringe bulb. Go near the sink and pour this solution in the affected ear.
Tip: Repeat this 4 times a day for results.
What all you need: The root of echinacea, mullein leaves (dried) and comfrey leaves (dried).
How to Do: Mix 1/4th cup of all the ingredients, add some water and simmer it for 5 minutes. Let it cool down first, then strain.
How it Works: Pour the prepared solution in your clogged ear and then drain it out.
Tip: Repeat this procedure 3-4 times a day.
Now let us explore the ways of preventing blocked ears in the first place.
How To Prevent Clogged Ears?
Apart from artificial ways, there are tried and tested natural ways to prevent ear clogging. For that, you need to make a couple of changes around your home and in your lifestyle habits.
- Bedroom Humidifier: This provides your sinuses with the required moisture which helps relieve the pressure built up in your Eustachian tubes.
- Sitting under hot bathroom shower: To get relief from clogged ears, sit in the bathroom under a running hot shower. The steam produced will clear the ear canals and also prevent them from drying out. When you have dry ears, your body over-produces ear wax. This leads to a build-up of an excess of wax in your ear canals.
- Body position: Try and avoid sudden jerks or changes in the position of your body. For instance, don’t shake your head or stand up in a hurry.
- Drink fluids: The best way to thin the mucous in your nasal passage and prevent congestion in ears is to keep drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. When you drink an excess of tea, coffee, alcohol and eat salty foods, they end up affecting your blood circulation and worsen your ear condition.
- Sinus-related problems: In the case of extremes of temperature, sinus problems can get aggravated, affecting nose and ears. If it is a freezing day, skip the morning jog.
If the natural remedies mentioned above do not work, you need to consult a medical practitioner immediately to suction your ear or remove blockage with an instrument.
Disclaimer: Please do remember that the information here is given as a read only guide and shouldn’t be considered as the final word and advice. Speak to your doctor should you have any concerns with regards to clogged ears. His words would take precedence over what is written here and elsewhere.
Stay happy and healthy!