Our ears are a vital organ for our daily lives. Not only do they help us hear things but also maintain the whole balance of the body. It detects the vibrations outside and transfers them inside and eventually to the brain passing information. Among several challenges clogged ears are a menace that is difficult to tackle.
Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged? How Do You Get Rid Of A Clogged Ear?
Experiencing clogged ears can be uncomfortable which impacts the quality of hearing and causes discomfort. This article is a simple yet brief guide on clogged ears and its causes. We will also be discussing the treatments and letting you know how to unclog stuffed ears.
An Overview Of Clogged Ears
Clogged ears occur when you feel fullness or pressure in the ear. The feeling of something stuffed with unusual experience might be the sign. This is caused due to blockages or changes in air pressure. It is likely to be affected in both ears and may be accompanied by difficulty in hearing, ear pain, or ringing in the ears also known as tinnitus.
Causes Of Clogged Ears
Let’s take a list of the few reasons behind the cause of your clogged ears this can vary from several factors. They are:
- Earwax buildup: A common cause for clogged ears are due to earwax accumulation deep inside the ears. Ear wax is a fluid or paste-like substance made by the glands in the outer ear canal’s skin made up of sweat and tiny hairs protecting your inner ears. It serves a purpose but excessive build-up leads to trouble.
- Changes in air pressure: Quick changes in air pressure such as due to traveling or when you’re at a higher altitude like in mountain areas cause clogged ears.
- Ear infections: Infections caused by the outer or middle ears build up fluids eventually clogging up your ears and resulting in several other issues.
- Allergies or Sinus Congestion; Nasal congestion caused by allergies or sinusitis affects the eustachian tube, another reason you may experience clogged ears.
- Water trapped in the air: While swimming or having a shower water likely gets trapped within your ear canal which is one of the reasons you might get a clogged ear daily.
- Foreign Objects: Objects outside like dust, dirt, and other substances mainly due to the environment of your work or climate might build up foreign particles blocking your ear canal.
Treatments For Clogged Ears
Now it’s time to discuss a few effective methods of treatment to prevent or counterattack the issue of clogged ears. These steps include:
- Warm compress: This is a common way to tackle clogged ears. To do this apply a warm compress over the affected ear to relieve the discomfort or loosen the ear wax.
- Ear Drops: Another common method that is widely relied on and is effective is using an ear drop. Over-the-counter ear drops containing hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil, or saline can soften the ear wax and help you get rid of it if wax is the reason behind your clogged ears.
- Nasal Decongestants: Using nasal decongestant sprays under the advice or guidance of a doctor cures the pressure caused by congestion.
- Chewing gum or yawning: It might sound odd but chewing a pack of gum or yawning helps regulate the air pressure while you an on a flight or changing altitude. This is why we used to yawn often, especially before or post-sleeping.
- Steam Inhalation: Inhaling steam from a hot water shower or any clear source opens up the eustachian tube and reduces the clogged sensation.
- Ear Irrigation: Irrigating your ear using a bulb syringe or an earwax removal kit under the professional guidance of an expert can get rid of the excess earwax you can also find the help of an ENT specialist in case you find it difficult to do it alone.
How To Unclog Stuffy Ears?
Finally, let’s discuss some effective ways and advice to unclog your stuffy ears. These are proven ways and you should do it the right way. In detail, they are:
- Valsalva maneuver: This technique is efficient for many cases and it is proven. To do this gently pinch your nose so that you’re holding your breath and your nostrils closed and blow air through your nose. This equals the ear pressure.
- Toynbee Maneuver: In this method follow the same initial steps as the Valsalva maneuver pinching your nostrils and then swallowing, this regulates the pressure within your ears.
- Yawning or Swallowing: As mentioned earlier as a treatment this can also help you to slightly unclog your ears by regulating pressure. Remember to do this especially when you’re at high altitudes.
- Ear Tug: Gently tug on your earlobe while tilting your head to the affected side which aids in opening up the eustachian tube.
When To Seek Medical Attention?
As much as you know the causes and its treatment it is also important to understand when to visit an ENT specialist or a doctor. If the clogged ears consistently remain despite your efforts and treatment don’t waste much time to make things worse but consult with a professional.
Remember severe pain, drainage, or sudden hearing loss are experienced rush and waste no time. They examine to determine any underlying issues or let you know if you need further treatment. Don’t put any objects into the ear canal as it may cause damage or worsen the issue or the blockage.
In a nutshell, clogged ears can be an annoying issue but can be tackled through simple home remedies or steps. It is caused by various reasons and identify which one to take necessary precautions next time and adequately fix the problem.
In case of anything beyond your control or you lack knowledge to treat it visit an expert rather than trying to figure things out yourself. Using protective devices or gears and taking necessary safety measures are sure you can get your ears unclogged and listen to the melodies your ear wants, The issue is common and only requires the right approach to fix things in a little matter of time.
- Danishyar A, et al. (2022). Acute otitis media.
- Schwartz SR, Magit AE, Rosenfeld RM, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline (Update): Earwax (Cerumen Impaction) (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28045591/). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 Jan;156(1_suppl):S1-S29. Accessed 1/13/2023.
- American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. Earwax (Cerumen Impaction) (https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/earwax-cerumen-impaction/). Accessed 1/13/2023.