Have you noticed that you are having a hard time hearing lately? You may be feeling stressed already because you have assumed that it is related to your hearing ability. However, the truth may only be that you suffer from blocked ears. So how do you unclog ears from congestion?
Blocked ears usually occur when the Eustachian tube cannot work normally. The eustachian tube is a canal that connects the middle ear with the throat and nose. Its function is equalizing the pressure between the middle ear and air pressure outside.
Suppose some factor causes the clogging of the Eustachian tube. You may feel an earache, hearing impairment, ear-popping, whistling sensations, a feeling of fullness, and even temporary loss of hearing.
According to the Medicinenet, a blockage of the eustachian tubes can be caused by nasal congestion, an ear infection, allergies, earwax accumulation, and eustachian tube inflammation. For a better treatment to unclog the ears, you need to find the underlying cause of this problem.
Know Your Ears First
The ear is a complex organ that can become clogged in many places. It usually consists of three parts.
- The outer ear is easily accessible from your face. The lodge allows the amplification of sounds entering the external auditory canal leading to the eardrum. Ear wax formed in your outer can easily clog the external ear canal.
- The middle ear is behind the eardrum and transmits the vibrations of the tympanic membrane to the inner ear by the ossicles (hammer, anvil, stirrup). A small duct, called the Eustachian tube, connects your middle ear to the nasopharynx to balance its pressure with the outside. Your Eustachian tube may also become blocked because of inflammation or secretions.
- The highly complex inner ear integrates sounds and codes into electrical impulses to transmit them to your brain via the auditory nerve. Your inner ear usually will not clog, but hearing problems can result from a malfunction of this organ.
Common Causes of Blocked and Clogged Ears
- Airplane ear occurs when your ear cannot adjust to the drastic change of air pressure on an airplane. You can feel it when the plane takes off, lands or when diving.
- An ear infection is also known as otitis media; it can lead to pain and clogged ears. You may feel your ear filled with fluid. Cold and stuffy sinuses can be the common causes of ear infections.
- Children are more prone to clogged ears because they have low immunity and are more likely to get colds and ear infections.
- Earwax buildup can block the ear canal and lead to clogged ears. Wearing hearing aids may worsen this condition.
- Swimming or bathing can cause the water to enter the ear canal. This will make the water trapped in the ear and lead to an infection.
- Some small devices such as cotton swabs may be left in the ear canal. This will lead to clogged ears.
- Sometimes, allergies can also cause a clogged ear.
How to Get Rid of Ears Clogged From Sinus
A sinus infection or clogged sinuses can cause clogged ears because your sinuses and ears are connected. When your nasal cavities are inflamed or allergic, they will become swollen and affect the pressure in your ears.
Congested sinuses will cause mild pain in the ear canal, ear blocked, and even temporary hearing loss. To get rid of the ears clogged from the sinus, you need to treat your sinus infection first. Many ways can help get rid of your sinus infection and reduce the pressure in the ear.
How to get rid of ear clogged from a sinus infection
Inhaling steam can help open up your nasal passages and effectively relieve the pressure in the ear. Also, this is another effective home remedy for clogged ears from a cold. This can help remove the steam and the mucus effectively.
You need to prepare a bowl of boiled water and cover a towel over your head. Then lean your head over the bowl and breathe through your nose slowly. This can help clear your sinuses and spit the mucus out naturally.
Also, this method can help you relieve the pain in your ears very fast. Try to avoid putting your head down when you Inhale the steam, as this will cause more pressure on your ears and sinuses. You can keep a semi-upright position.
You can also add some menthol cream, chamomile tea, or herbs into your steam to increase the effect. Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can offer more benefits to your blocked sinuses.
Alternatively, you can also try a warm shower or hot bath for at least 20 minutes. The steam can do the same work. In addition, a mini head sauna or humidifiers can also help. Remember to protect your skin from overheating.
2. Warm Compress
This is the best method that you can use when you suffer from colds or flu. It can also be used when you suffer from allergies. Just dip a hand towel in warm water and apply it to your affected ear. Wait for about 5 minutes and drain the fluid out and dry your ear. If you have a heating pad, you can use this instead of a hand towel. It can keep the heat for a longer period of time.
3. Gargle With Warm Water and Salt
Saltwater can also help clean the sinus infection and remove the pressure in your ears. As you gargle, the sinuses will open up and let the pressure in your ears drop. Also, saltwater has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can get rid of the infection. Because your nose, ears, and throat are all connected, it’s not only good for your throat but also your ears.
Add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle your throat at least 5 times a day. The warm salt can also help relax your muscles and remove the infection.
4.Drink Plenty of Water
Maintaining moisture can help keep your nasal mucus thin and relieve your sinus problems. Also, drinking plenty of water will make you swallow frequently; this will help relieve the build-up pressure in the ear.
If you do not want to drink water, some juice or Herbal teas can also be beneficial. Try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco as they will change your blood flow and worsen your condition.
5.Moisture your nose
This can help keep your sinuses from drying out and ease the pressure in the ear. Apply a moist and warm washcloth to your nose. Or you can use a nasal saline spray 3-5 times every day. A humidifier is another good choice for maintaining air humidity.
6. Take medicines
This should be the last resort when you suffer from clogged ears from a sinus infection. Some over-the-counter medicines such as naproxen, paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen can help relieve the ear pain from a sinus infection.
In addition, some over-the-counter decongestants can help clear the sinus cavities and relieve clogged ears. Make sure not to use them too often, or you may feel more congested.
How to Get Rid of Clogged Ears From a Cold or Allergies
A cold, flu, or allergies can cause sinus congestion and lead to fluid and mucus trapped in the middle ear. This may clog your ears temporarily and lead to a “full” feeling in the ears. An infection usually accompanies this blockage. You may experience other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, watery, or a sore throat.
Sometimes, allergies and colds can also cause otitis media. This is an infection in the middle ear, which can block the Eustachian tube and cause a temporary hearing loss. It usually disappears on its own after the cold or allergy is gone.
However, allergies and colds may also cause more serious conditions such as sensorineural hearing loss. If the flu virus damages the inner ear nerves, the sound signals cannot be transmitted to the brain. If left untreated, it may even cause permanent hearing loss.
In many cases, a cold, allergies could cause sinus congestion and clog your ears. You can get rid of the congested ears with remedies similar to the clogged ears from the sinus. If you have a temporary hearing loss, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
How to Get Rid of Swimmer’s Ear
Swimmer’s ear is the inflammation or an infection of the ear. It is usually caused by the water trapped in the ear canal. Other factors such as skin conditions, chemicals, and objects inserted in the ear can also lead to this condition.
Swimmer’s ear can cause ear pain, swelling, dizziness, ear clogged, and even difficulty hearing. You may also suffer from severe pain when your ear is moved. With appropriate treatment, it can be removed quickly.
Home remedies to get rid of the clogged ear from water
1.White vinegar remedy
If the swimmer’s ear is mild, you can use white vinegar to rinse the ear canal—mix equal amounts of water and white vinegar. Be sure to dilute. Otherwise, the acid is too strong, which will hurt your ears. Lie down and place the affected ear up.
Use a dropper to drip the diluted vinegar solution and wait for 5-10 minutes. Then turn the head to the other side. This can help drain the fluid behind the eardrum. However, if the ear tubes are already injured, make sure not to do this remedy.
2. Garlic oil
This remedy is also beneficial for swimmer’s ears. Garlic has antibiotic properties that can be very effective in curing ear infections. It can also help relieve the pain from clogged ears. This remedy can help you get rid of the clogged ear instantly.
Prepare 2 peeled garlic cloves and mash them to get the oil. Mix the garlic oil with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat them in the microwave. Make sure it is not too hot. Otherwise, it may damage your ear. Put a few drops of oil into your ear with a dropper and wait for 5-10 minutes. Tilting your head and let the oil drain out.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This vinegar contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help get rid of the swimmer’s ear effectively.
Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and alcohol. Then drip the mixture into your ear and leave it for 5 minutes. Turn your head to the other side. Let the liquid flow out and dry your ear.
How to prevent the clogged ear from water
- After swimming, remove the trapped water from your ears.
- Use an earplug or cotton with Vaseline to plug your ears when swimming.
- If your ear is already infected or inflammation, avoid swimming or exposure to water. Moreover, try to avoid external devices such as hearing aids and headphones.
- For the children’s swimmer’s ears, some antibiotics or pain medications may be needed to reduce the ear pain and itching. You’d better go to the hospital for treatment.
- Heat is also an effective way to remove the swimmer’s ear. You can use a heating pad, a hairdryer, or a hot towel to warm your ears.
How to Remove Ear Wax Blockage
Earwax can help you clean the ear canal and prevent debris from getting into your ears. It is usually soft, but sometimes it may become hard and lead to a clogged ear. This will cause ear pain, dizziness, or ringing in the ears. People usually clean the earwax with a cotton swab. But this method will push earwax deeper when made incorrectly.
Home remedies to Remove Ear Wax Blockage
1. Warm olive oil
This is very useful for the blockage from earwax buildup. It can help soften ear wax and drain out the fluids. This can also help cure ear infections and ear congestion. Make sure to use warm oil instead of hot oil. Hot oil can damage your ear canal.
Warm a teaspoon of olive oil with hot water or a microwave. Lie down and put the clogged ear up. Then place a few drops of olive oil into your ear with a dropper.
Wait for the ear wax to become soft. This might take about 10 minutes. Gently remove the oil and ear wax with a cotton ball. Turn over to your other side and repeat this process if needed.
2. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is another effective method for dissolving earwax. It can also help drain the fluid in the Eustachian tubes. You need to dilute it to prevent your ears from drying out.
Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide and some distilled water in a clean bowl. Lie down with your affected ear upwards. Apply a few drops of the diluted hydrogen peroxide into your ear with a dropper.
Leave it on for about 40 seconds and turn your head to the other side. This can help drain the fluid easily. Repeat this process 1-2 times daily until the blockage disappears.
How to Get Rid of Airplane Ear
The pressure in the ears will change rapidly when you are diving or fly in an airplane. This will cause the Eustachian tube not to equalize pressure properly. As a result, you may experience a temporary clogged ear.
Simple Tricks to getting Rid of Airplane Ear Fast
1. Valsalva Maneuver
This is probably one of the most useful remedies to get rid of your clogged ears. This technique can help you equalize the pressure in the middle ear. Make sure that you know the right way to do this so you will not hurt your eardrums.
Take a deep breath and keep your mouth closed. Then pinch your nose and with your fingers and blow out gently. It would seem like you are trying to blow through your nose, but since it is covered, the air will go out through your ears instead. You will hear a ‘pop’ sound if you have done this effectively.
Make sure do not to keep your nose too hard and slightly tilt your head back. If your ear is still blocked, repeat this action after a few minutes.
2. Open Your Mouth and Yawn
Yawning can help you open up the eustachian tube and equalize the air pressure in your ears.
Some people may find this easy because they can yawn whenever they want to. However, it is not easy for others. You can try to make a fake yawn, which will still give you the desired result.
Open your mouth and speak ‘aaaaa,’ you will hear the ‘pop” sound in your ears. You can try to make yourself yawn by looking at a person who is yawning. Think about yawning; your body will likely do it afterward. Sometimes not breathing enough can also cause you to yawn.
3. Swallowing or Chewing
You can consciously practice swallowing techniques. Swallowing can force your eustachian tube to open and let the air enter. This will help equalize the pressure inside your ears and relieve the feeling of blocked ears.
If you think swallowing is difficult, you can also drink water or chew gum to help you swallow easily. You can also depict the movement of chewing even when you are not chewing anything. Do this repeatedly until the pain goes away.
4. Avoid Sleeping
Some people usually sleep during a long trip. Sometimes this is not a good habit. Sleeping can increase the pressure inside the ear when the car ascends a mountain or when the plane is about to land.
When people sleep, they do not swallow or chew, and this can help make the pressure stay in much longer. It is okay to sleep as long as you know that you are far away from places that might cause air pressure on your ears. If you know that you are near the place and are feeling sleepy, try to keep busy by doing various things.
When Should You See Your Doctor?
Many home remedies can help get rid of the blocked ears. However, sometimes you need to see your doctor immediately.
- If you have tried many home remedies but still can’t unclog your ears.
- If the earwax is so hard that you can’t remove it at home.
- Dizziness or hearing loss.
- Serious ear infection with ear pain or lots of discharge in the ear.
- The foreign matter inside the ear may damage the ear canal or periosteum.