How To Treat Clogged Ears | Blog | South Florida ENT Associates (2024)

If you have clogged ears, you know what a nuisance it can be to have to strain to hear. Whether your blockage is causing you pain or discomfort, an ENT can identify the cause and treat the condition correctly.

Why are my ears clogged?

If your ears are plugged, it is essential that you identify the cause of the blockage. Your ears may unblock on their own, or the condition continues. Several physical conditions can lead to clogged ears. Some of the most common include:

  • A blockage in the Eustachian tube: The Eustachian tube is what connects your middle ear to your throat. It helps the ears drain fluid and equalizes the pressure around the eardrum. Infections such as the flu, sinusitis or the common cold may block the Eustachian tube, causing mucus and fluid to be trapped in the middle ear. This can cause symptoms such as hearing difficulties, pain, and a feeling of fullness in your ears.
  • Earwax: Earwax is usually soft, and it exists to protect your ear and keep it clean. Sometimes, wax hardens, creating a blockage. This could be caused by using cotton swabs to clean your ears. ENTs and other medical professionals do not advise this method of cleaning, as it may push the earwax deeper into the ear rather than removing it.
  • Changes in altitude: A sudden change in altitude can also cause your ears to become clogged. When you go scuba diving or fly in a plane, the rapid change in pressure around the body can prevent the Eustachian tube from equalizing the pressure in your middle ear.

What can I do to unclog my ears?

Sometimes, a clogged ear will resolve on its own in a matter of hours. If it does not, there are many ways to address the problem. A range of home remedies could be effective. If you are dealing with a blocked Eustachian tube, it is important to clear the blockage rapidly, as the fluid trapped in your ear could cause an ear infection. Treatments include:

  • Over-the-counter medication such as nasal sprays, decongestants or cold or sinus medication
  • Inhaling steam
  • Taking a hot shower or placing a warm compress over your ear to get steam into your ear canal
  • Gently moving your finger up and down in the ear that is blocked. This may help dislodge trapped fluid.
  • Ear drops
  • Ear irrigation

Should I see a doctor?

If home remedies are not effective or you suspect you have an ear infection or sinusitis, it is time to get medical help from an ENT, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at South Florida ENT Associates. A medical professional can identify the cause of your clogged ears and treat it correctly. We offer a range of diagnostic tests and treatments for clogged ears.

How To Treat Clogged Ears | Blog | South Florida ENT Associates (2024)


How To Treat Clogged Ears | Blog | South Florida ENT Associates? ›

If you are dealing with a blocked Eustachian tube

Eustachian tube
The Eustachian tube (/juːˈsteɪʃən/), also called the auditory tube or pharyngotympanic tube, is a tube that links the nasopharynx to the middle ear, of which it is also a part. › wiki › Eustachian_tube
, it is important to clear the blockage rapidly, as the fluid trapped in your ear could cause an ear infection. Treatments include: Over-the-counter medication such as nasal sprays, decongestants or cold or sinus medication. Inhaling steam.

What will an ENT do for clogged ears? ›

The surgeon makes a tiny incision in the ear drum using a small scalpel or laser, then suctions the fluid out of the middle ear. The doctor inserts a small tube in the incision in the eardrum to allow fluid to drain.

How can I quickly unblock my ears? ›

Use a warm compress or gargling water to reduce mucus to ease a clogged ear due to allergies or infections. Other potential remedies include yawning, swallowing, chewing, or gently blowing the nose while pinching the nostrils shut.

What do doctors give you for clogged ears? ›

Your provider can also flush out the wax using a syringe filled with warm water and saline or diluted hydrogen peroxide. Medicated ear drops may also be recommended to help soften the wax, such as carbamide peroxide (Debrox Earwax Removal Kit, Murine Ear Wax Removal System).

How does an ENT drain Eustachian tube? ›

Myringotomy. During this procedure, your surgeon makes a small incision in your eardrum to drain the fluid from your middle ear. In adults, the incisions usually stay open long enough for the swelling in your eustachian tubes to resolve.

How does an ENT remove fluid from ear? ›

A myringotomy is a procedure to create a hole in the ear drum to allow fluid that is trapped in the middle ear to drain out. The fluid may be blood, pus and/or water. In many cases, a small tube is inserted into the hole in the ear drum to help maintain drainage.

What is the best decongestant for ears? ›

The best decongestants for ears
MedicationUsual dosage
Sudafed PE (phenylephrine)10 mg every 4 hours
Afrin (oxymetazoline)2-3 sprays in each nostril every 10-12 hours
Deep Sea Nasal Spray (saline spray)2-3 sprays in each nostril every 10-12 hours
Claritin (loratadine)10 mg once daily
5 more rows
Feb 19, 2023

How to drain an Eustachian tube naturally? ›

You can do exercises to open up the tubes. This includes swallowing, yawning, or chewing gum. You can help relieve the “full ear” feeling by taking a deep breath, pinching your nostrils closed, and “blowing” with your mouth shut.

How do you unblock your ears when nothing works? ›

Some ways to clear ear pressure include chewing gum, yawning, swallowing, and trying the Valsalva and Toynbee maneuvers.

What dissolves ear wax immediately? ›

If the aim is to completely break down the wax, waxsol, peroxide 3% or a sodium bicarbonate solution (which can be prepared by your local pharmacist) is effective.

How to open a blocked eustachian tube? ›

You may be able to open the blocked tubes with a simple exercise. Close your mouth, hold your nose, and gently blow as if you are blowing your nose. Yawning and chewing gum also may help. You may hear or feel a "pop" when the tubes open to make the pressure equal between the inside and outside of your ears.

What pill can I take to unclog my ears? ›

Pseudoephedrine is used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion caused by the common cold, sinusitis, and hay fever and other respiratory allergies. It is also used to relieve ear congestion caused by ear inflammation or infection. Some of these preparations are available only with your doctor's prescription.

How do you fix a completely blocked ear? ›

If your ears are plugged, try swallowing, yawning or chewing sugar-free gum to open your eustachian tubes. If this doesn't work, take a deep breath and try to blow out of your nose gently while pinching your nostrils closed and keeping your mouth shut. If you hear a popping noise, you know you have succeeded.

What do I do if my ear won't stop clogging? ›

Typically, clogged ears will ease up within a few days. Symptoms may last a little longer if you have a head cold, COVID infection, or allergies. But if clogged ears continue beyond a few days, it may be time to see a healthcare professional about your treatment options.

Can an ENT see if your eustachian tube is blocked? ›

Your doctor may use a variety of techniques to diagnose patulous Eustachian tube dysfunction while viewing your ear drum (tympanic membrane). Your doctor may ask you to breathe deeply and swallow to see how the ear drum responds. Your doctor may also measure the pressure inside your ear using specialized tools.

Is ear cleaning by ENT painful? ›

Takeaway. Microsuction ear cleaning is a procedure to remove earwax buildup from your ear canal. It's a relatively effective procedure that's usually safe and painless.

Can ENT release ear pressure? ›

If your ears fail to open, or if you are experiencing persistent pain in your ears, seek the help of an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or otolaryngologist. They may recommend inserting small pressure equalization tubes or a balloon to help dilate your eustachian tubes.

How does an ENT clean your ears out? ›

Suction - Using a small device called a curet, your doctor can suction out the wax. Flushing - Flushing out the wax using a water pick or warm water can be an effective tool your doctor decides to use.

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