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DIY Methods to Unclog Your Ears

Hand to Ear

Most of the time, ears tend to take care of themselves, and aside from washing the external shell, can largely be forgotten about. However, sometimes, ears can become “clogged” – which can be incredibly disconcerting and uncomfortable to experience. Below, we’ve looked deeper into the subject of clogged ears, and – most importantly of all – how this unpleasant issue can be resolved if you were experiencing it.

The symptoms of clogged ears

If your ears become clogged, then you’re liable to experience a variety of symptoms, including – but not limited to – the following:

  • A “heavy” or “full” feeling inside the ear
  • Hearing loss or loss of sound clarity, such as muffling
  • Pain or itching within the ear canal
  • A “ringing” sound in the affected ear, which is also known as tinnitus

The causes of clogged ears

  • Perhaps the most common reason is earwax buildup. Earwax is a natural substance that helps to keep your ears healthy, but in some individuals, it can essentially become “stuck” in the ear canal.
  • Ear infections such as otitis media and otitis externa (more commonly known as “swimmer’s ear”) can cause the ear canal to swell or for fluid to build up, which causes the entire ear to feel clogged. Other symptoms of ear infections include – often severe – pain, swelling, and redness around the ear.
  • A blockage in the Eustachian tube of your ear can cause the ear to feel clogged. The Eustachian tube connects the throat to the middle ear and, usually, as a result of either a bacterial or viral infection, can become blocked by mucus or fluid.
  • Injuries to the ear can also cause the ear to feel clogged, usually due to swelling.

The alternative causes mentioned above tend to require medical assistance and may need to be treated with prescription medication to clear an underlying infection or treat an injury.

The best solution for clogged ears

If you are experiencing issues with earwax buildup, then by far the best way to resolve the problem is to undergo professional ear cleaning that is conducted by an audiologist. Professionals have the experience, tools, and expertise to ensure that they can remove earwax quickly, efficiently, and safely.

How to manage earwax buildup at home

In addition to – but never as a substitution for – visiting an audiologist for an ear cleaning, there are a few DIY methods you can try. However, before we detail these, there’s a significant safety concern we need to highlight:

  • Never use DIY methods that involve inserting a foreign object – such as a cotton swab – into the ear canal.
  • The ear canal is incredibly delicate and can be easily damaged.
  • There is also a risk of perforating the eardrum if a cotton swab or similar object is used.
  • Lastly, inserting objects into the ear is more likely to worsen a problem with earwax buildup than it is to alleviate the issue. There is a significant risk of pushing earwax from the canal further into the ear, effectively adding to the existing accumulation and making any hearing loss (or other symptoms) that you are experiencing worse rather than better.

Due to the above, it is only worth considering DIY methods that can be used without needing to insert an object into the ear canal itself – and drops are perhaps the best choice in this regard. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Over-the-counter drops, specially formulated to try and help to remove earwax, should be your first port of call here. There are several different brands available, but all work in much the same way: you apply the drops every day and the earwax should soften to a point where it clears naturally.
  • You could also try using hydrogen peroxide (3-4% solution) or mineral oil to loosen earwax – but be extremely cautious if you do choose these options.

Alternatively, you could also try using ear irrigation kits, which are primarily designed to try and flush earwax out of the ear canal. If you choose this method, always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to the letter.

Finally, if you experience any pain or discomfort when using any of the above methods, cease the treatment and seek the advice of your audiologist as soon as possible.

When seeking to unclog earwax from your ears, the DIY methods mentioned above can be beneficial, but only in conjunction with treatment provided by an audiologist.

To learn more about Cosmetic Hearing Solutions, please call 571-312-7345.