How Can I Unclog My Ears at Home?

Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2020

How can I unclog my ears at home?

You can try several home remedies to unclog your ears at home.
You can try several home remedies to unclog your ears at home.

Cold weather is not all about pretty snowfalls, campfire and cozy garments. It also brings about several health issues such as stuffy nose and clogged ears. Clogged or stuffy ears may cause considerable discomfort that includes

Your ears are connected to your nose through a tube-like passage known as the eustachian tube. Swelling or blockage of the eustachian tube causes clogged ears. This may affect one or both ears. Clogged ears may result due to several causes such as

  • Sinus or ear inflammation due to colds, allergies or infections
  • Excessive ear wax
  • High altitudes
  • Fluid accumulation in the ears
  • Inflammation of the eustachian tubes
  • A growth or tumor in the ear (this can cause persistently clogged ears)

You may try the following home remedies to unclog your ears

  • Chew constantly: If your ears are plugged, try swallowing repeatedly, yawning with your mouth wide open or chewing a sugar-free gum to open your eustachian tubes.
  • Pop your ears (Valsalva maneuver): To perform the Valsalva maneuver, you have to hold your nose closed with your thumb and index finger placed on either side of your nostrils. Now blow out while keeping your lips closed and allowing your cheeks to puff up. This maneuver will cause an instant “popping” sensation and provide relief from the stuffy or clogged sensation. Do not do it repeatedly though.
  • Irrigate your ears: Try an over-the-counter (OTC) ear irrigation kit to unclog your ears. Do this carefully following the instructions that come with the kit. Do not do ear irrigation if you’ve had a recent ear surgery or active ear infection. You can do it two or three times a day or as instructed by your healthcare professional.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide ear drops: To use hydrogen peroxide drops, use a 5-mL dropper or syringe to put 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution into your ears. After that, tilt your head in the opposite direction of the affected ear. You may feel some fizzing in the affected ear as the wax is dissolved in the peroxide solution. Clean your ears with a soft cloth. Do not use a higher concentration because it may cause burning inside the eyes. Use this solution twice a day for two days.
  • Apply warm compresses: Use steam or warm compresses to help unclog the ears. To do this, place a warm compress on the affected ear to allow steam to get inside the ear. Taking a hot shower for 10 to 15 minutes may also serve the same purpose.
  • Use oil drops: You can use olive oil, baby oil or mineral oil to clear clogged ears. Make sure the oil is lukewarm and add two to three drops into the affected ear. Tilt your head for 15 to 20 seconds. Wipe the ear and repeat the process two to three times to remove the collected wax.
  • Use OTC nasal decongestants: These may provide relief from clogged ears, especially when you have nasal or sinus inflammation. Use OTC ear drops according to the label instructions. Although these home remedies generally help unclog the ears, it is advised to seek professional help whenever possible. Avoid using cotton swabs or candle methods to unclog your ears. You must consult your doctor if
    • Your ears stay persistently clogged.
    • There is severe ear pain.
    • You develop a fever.
    • You have persistent or increasing facial swelling.
    • You develop hearing loss.
    • You have ear discharge.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2020
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