Has your hearing become muffled? Fortunately, in many cases, it may have nothing to do with your actual hearing ability. Often it is simply due to a clogged ear, which refers to a blockage in the ear canal.
Symptoms of a clogged ear include reduced hearing capacity, a popping sensation in your ear, a windy sound inside the ear, and a feeling of having mucus or liquid within the ear.
You can get a clogged ear when the Eustachian tube does not open and close properly to regulate and equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the pressure in the atmosphere outside the ear.
Common factors that can cause clogged ears are wax buildup, air flow blockage to the Eustachian tubes, pressure differences in the middle ear, and cold and sinus problems. Clogged ears can affect people of all ages, but is most common among children, especially when they have colds.
As well as being annoying, a clogged ear can be quite painful. It’s important to treat it early. There are many natural treatments that you can use to unclog ears.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of clogged ears.
1. Valsalva Maneuver
You can easily get rid of clogged ears by performing the Valsalva maneuver. It will relieve stuffiness and pain in the ear.
- Close your mouth and pinch your nostrils closed with your fingers, then take a deep breath.
- Blow air out of your nose to regulate the air pressure. If done correctly, you will hear a slight popping sound which means the Eustachian tubes are open again.
Note: Don’t blow your nose too hard as it may cause damage to the ear drum.
Check out this video to learn about Valsalva maneuver and other ear equalization techniques.
2. Olive Oil
For clogged ears due to a buildup of wax inside the ears, you can use olive oil. Olive oil will help soften ear wax so you can easily remove it.
- Gently warm some pure olive oil.
- Use a dropper to put a few drops of the lukewarm olive oil in the affected ear.
- Allow it to settle for 10 minutes so that the earwax becomes soft.
- Keep your head sideways and remove the oil and ear wax with ear buds. Do this very gently so you don’t hurt the delicate organ.
You can also use baby oil or mineral oil in place of olive oil.
3. Alcohol and Apple Cider Vinegar
To destroy any kind of bacterial infection that may be causing clogged ears, you can use a combination of alcohol and apple cider vinegar.
- Mix equal amounts of alcohol and apple cider vinegar.
- Lie down on your side and use a dropper to put a few drops of this mixture in the affected ear.
- To keep the mixture from spilling out, place a cotton ball in the ear and do not raise your head.
- Rest for five to 10 minutes to allow the mixture to do its work.
- Remove the earwax with an ear bud.
- If the other ear is also clogged, repeat the process with the other ear.
4. Warm Compress
A warm compress is a very good natural treatment for clogged ears associated with colds or sinus congestion. The heat from a warm compress will help loosen congestion, unclog the ear and ease the pain.
- Soak a washcloth in warm water, wring out the excess water and then hold the washcloth over the affected ear for five to 10 minutes. This will help to ease pain and promote fluid drainage.
- Alternatively, you can wrap a hot water bottle in a thin towel and apply it to the clogged ear for five to 10 minutes to relieve the pressure and open up the clogged ear.
Inhaling steam is one of the simplest ways to get rid of clogged ears resulting from a cold. The steam will help thin and loosen the mucus, which in turn will give you relief from clogged ears. Steam can also help loosen earwax causing clogging.
- Pour hot steaming water in a large bowl.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil to it.
- Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam slowly until the clogged ear opens up.
You can also take a hot shower for about 10 minutes to relieve clogged ears.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
You can use hydrogen peroxide to unclog ears blocked by wax accumulation.
- Using a dropper, put two drops of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in the affected ear.
- You will hear fizzing within a few minutes. Wait 10 minutes or until the fizzing stops.
- Then tilt your head to let the solution and earwax drain out.
Note: Do not use hydrogen peroxide in excess as it can cause harm to your ear drums.
7. Warm Water
Flushing with warm water will also help open up a clogged ear.
- Fill an ear syringe with a cup of warm water.
- Tilt your head to the side as much as you can and pull your ear lobe down to open up the ear canal.
- Insert the tip of the syringe into the ear opening. Point the syringe slightly up and sideways and squeeze the bulb of the syringe to force the water into your ear canal. The gentle force of the water will dislodge the wax.
- Wait for about 10 minutes and then tilt your head to the other side. The water and earwax will come out easily.
Yawning is another easy way to deal with clogged ears. The act of yawning decreases air pressure in the ear and helps activate the muscles that open the Eustachian tubes.
- Open your mouth slightly and attempt to yawn until you feel a slight pop inside the air.
- Repeat if the first yawn did not bring relief or until you start hearing more clearly.
Gargling with a hot salt water solution can help unclog the ears and also ease nasal congestion that may be contributing to the problem.
- Mix one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water.
- Gargle with this solution for 15 to 30 seconds and spit it out.
- Do this repeatedly until you get relief from the clogged ear.
10. Chewing Gum
If clogged ears are due to a sudden change in air pressure, like what happens during an airplane landing or take off, try chewing gum. This will open up your Eustachian tubes, relieving the excess pressure in your ears and opening up clogged ears.
If you still have clogged ears or pain after trying these tips, see your doctor or an ear, nose and throat specialist immediately.