How to unblock your ears naturally
There are times when your ears get clogged for various reasons. This can cause pain and discomfort and may affect your hearing. Below are a few common ways to unblock your ears
- Chew gum or suck on hard candy or mints to activate your swallowing reflex to help open the middle ear.
- Yawn to unblock your ears immediately.
- Pinch your nostrils shut and try to blow air out of them to open your eustachian tubes.
- Gargle with water (with/without salt) to help prevent upper respiratory infections. It can also help ease symptoms of nasal congestion and clogged ears associated with a cold or flu.
11 Tips to unclog your ears
However, if you have drainage, discomfort, or symptoms of an ear infection, the above methods would be a bad idea. Below are a few other methods to help unclog your ears:
- Hydrogen peroxide can be used to break up ear wax. Mix the solution with warm water making sure that the water isn’t too hot and then put a drop or two into your ear with a dropper. Tip your head to the side so that your ear faces upward while putting the drops in. Stay that way for several seconds to allow the hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the ear wax. You may have to do this a few times a day for a couple of days.
- Another home remedy is to inhale the steam. Steam may help thin and loosen mucus, so it can be expelled. A hot steamy shower, sauna, or humidifier will work in the same way.
- Eat hot foods or spicy foods (such as curries or horseradish) to thin mucus that is blocking your ears. It will also help with nasal congestion.
The following techniques should help you get rid of the water trapped in your ears.
- The gravity/jiggling technique: Lie on the ground with your affected ear parallel to the floor, tilt your head and jiggle your earlobe. Gravity will take care of the rest. You may use a cotton swab to remove any water remaining in your ears.
- The Valsalva maneuver: Scuba divers and airline travelers are familiar with this trick. It involves plugging your nose and blowing it using modest force. This helps normalize the pressure in your ears and allows water to drain out.
- The vacuum technique: Place the palm of your hand over your plugged-up ear and press gently for a few seconds to create suction that should help dislodge water from the ear canal. Repeat until your ear is open.
- The hair dryer technique: Aim a hair dryer on its lowest heat setting at your ear (don’t get too close) to help dry out your ear canals. Don’t worry, if you don’t get rid of it all at first, the rest should drain out on its own.
- The pulling technique: Reach around the back of your head and tug gently on the outer portion of your ear with your opposing hand. This will straighten out the ear canal and allow water to drain out.
- The chemical technique: If none of these natural techniques help, there are several over-the-counter alcohol-based ear drops designed to remove moisture from the ear canals.
Recommended ear wax removal methods
- You may need to use wax-softening drops such as Waxsol or Cerumol for a few days. You can also use olive oil. These oils soften ear wax and help it fall out on its own. Put the drops into your affected ear while tilting your head so that your affected ear points upwards for 5 to 10 minutes. Some people find that the drops cause a burning sensation. If pain occurs, stop using the drops and see your doctor.
- Microsuction is the safest and most gentle way to remove this wax buildup. Doctors take snapshots of the wax using a sophisticated microscope and they can safely remove it using a gentle suction tool. In some cases, the wax is too deeply embedded to be removed by micro-suction. Syringing and irrigation may then be an option.
If the blocked ear feeling persists or if your symptoms get worse (fever and pain) after several days, you probably have an infection. See your doctor and get appropriate treatment. Ear infections should not be taken lightly because they can become serious and cause irreversible hearing loss.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Can You Unblock Your Ear Related Articles
Hearing LossHearing loss (deafness) may be present at birth or it may manifest later in life. Deafness may be genetic or due to damage from noise. Treatment of deafness depends upon its cause. Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by conditions affecting the cochlea, eighth cranial nerve, spinal cord, or brain. Examples of conditions that can lead to sensorineural hearing loss include Meniere's disease, noise-induced hearing loss, hearing loss of aging (presbycusis), nerve injury from syphilis, hearing loss of unknown cause (idiopathic hearing loss), nerve tumors, and drug toxicity (such as aspirin and aminoglycosides).
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)A middle ear infection (otitis media) can cause earache, temporary hearing loss, and pus drainage from the ear. It is most common in babies, toddlers, and young children. Learn about causes and treatment.
Earwax RemovalEarwax (ear wax) is a natural substance secreted by special glands in the skin on the outer part of the ear canal. It repels water, and traps dust and sand particles. Usually a small amount of wax accumulates, dries up, and then falls out of the ear canal carrying with it unwanted particles. Under ideal circumstances, you should never have to clean your ear canals. The absence of ear wax may result in dry, itchy ears, and even infection. Ear wax may accumulate in the ear for a variety of reasons including; narrowing of the ear canal, production of less ear wax due to aging, or an overproduction of ear wax in response to trauma or blockage within the ear canal.
How Can I Unclog My Ears at Home?Clogged or stuffy ears may cause considerable discomfort that includes ear fullness, dizziness, muffled hearing, ringing in the ears and ear pain. Home remedies to unclog your ears include chewing, ear irrigation, performing the Valsalva maneuver, applying warm compresses, using OTC nasal decongestants or or putting oil drops or hydrogen peroxide into the affected ear.
hydrocortisone/yerba santa drops - otic, Earsol-HC
Inner Ear InfectionAn inner ear infection or otitis interna is caused by viruses or bacteria and can occur in both adults and children. An inner ear infection can cause symptoms and signs, for example, a severe ear, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and vertigo. An inner ear infection also may cause inflammation of the inner ear or labyrinthitis. Inner ear infections are not contagious; however, the bacteria and viruses that cause the infection can be transmitted to other people. Good hygiene practices will help decrease the chances of the infection spreading to others. Inner ear infection symptoms and signs like ear pain and nausea may be relieved with home remedies or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Some inner ear infections will need to be treated and cured with antibiotics or prescription pain or antinausea medication.
Foreign Objects or Insects in the EarObjects or insects in the ear can be placed in the ear by patients themselves or an insect crawling in the ear. Earwax can also cause ear problems if Q-tips are overused to clean the ears. Symptoms and signs of an object in the ear are inflammation and sensitivity, redness, or discharge of pus or blood. When to seek medical care for an object or insect in the ear is included in the article information.
Swimmer's Ear (External Otitis)
Swimmer's ear (external otitis) is an infection of the skin that covers the outer ear canal.
Causes of swimmer's ear include excessive water exposure that leads to trapped bacteria in the ear canal. Symptoms of simmer's include a feeling of fullness in the ear, itching, and ear pain. Chronic swimmer's ear may be caused by eczema, seborrhea, fungus, chronic irritation, and other conditions.
Common treatment includes antibiotic ear drops.
Tinnitus is described as a throbbing, ringing, clicking, or buzzing in one or both ears. Tinnitus is caused by trauma to the ear, over exposure to loud noises, medication, and diseases or infections of the ear such as multiple sclerosis, TMJ, autistic neruoma, Meniere's disease, hearing loss, and aging. Treatments include medication, tinnitus masking, retraining therapy, and relief therapy.
Tinnitus SlideshowWhat is tinnitus? Explore tinnitus (ringing in the ears) causes, symptoms, relief remedies, treatments and prevention tips. Learn about pulsatile tinnitus.
How Do You Get Rid of Ringing in the Ears (Tinnitus)?
Tinnitus is not a condition in itself, but a symptom of some other condition that causes a high-pitched whine, a ringing, buzzing or clicking in the ears. It can come from any number of problems starting with the eardrum and cochlea – the organs that turn sound waves into electrical signals for the brain to interpret as sound.
What Your Ears Say About Your HealthCould your sore or ringing ears be a sign of something else? Find out more from WebMD about what your ears can tell you about your health.