How to Get Rid of Clogged Ears – Top Home Remedies

How to Get Rid of Clogged Ears - Top Home RemediesDue to various reasons sometimes you may feel like your hearing has been impaired. You ask your partner to repeat the same sentence several times, you constantly turn up the volume on TV and people tell you that you speak louder than it is necessary.

On top of that you have notices some weird sensation in your ears. You’re asking yourself what the reason is and could it be something serious. The most probable answer is that you are perfectly fine, but simply have clogged ears.


Causes And Symptoms Of Clogged Ears

When your ears get clogged, you can feel a popping sensation or a windy sound in your ear or it may seem to you that you have liquid in your ear. All of these symptoms may be ascribed to various problems, but luckily none of them are an indicator of a serious problem with the ears. Most probably you simply have clogged ears. This may be caused by excessive ear wax, sinus congestion or fluid trapped in the ear. Also, it may be an issue related to the Eustachian tube that doesn’t open and close properly. The proper function of the Eustachian tube is crucial for the regulation of equalising of the pressure existing in the middle ear and the one in the atmosphere outside the ear. The most common situation when people notice this problem is when they experience an abrupt change of air pressure when they are on the plain or even when they go up or down a very steep road in the mountains. Luckily, whatever the reason of your clogged ears is, you can usually fix it easily with some simple home remedies.


How To Prevent Clogged Ears

First and foremost, you need to clean your ears regularly. Below we describe some solutions you can make at home to apply them into your ear regularly in order to remove the debris. When cleaning your ears, don’t repeat the mistake of many people who try to clean the ears with a Q-tip. By using a Q-tip you only push the wax deeper and eventually end up with clogged ears. What’s more, inserting the Q-tip too deep may damage the ear drum and impair your hearing.

Since your ear drum is very sensitive, don’t use the ear drops too often, unless told otherwise by the doctor. The unclogging solutions are usually quite harsh on the tissue of the ear canal and on the ear drum when used excessively. Try to set a routine and do the cleaning as often as necessary, but not more than once a week. In normal conditions it should be enough. If you work in an environment where your ears are exposed to an unusually high level of pollution and they have the tendency to getting clogged due to the amount of dust and other impurities present in the air, you can wash your ears gently on a daily basis, but make sure you only use clean water for it rather than ear cleansing solutions. Also, you might want to consider wearing ear plugs to prevent your ears from getting polluted.

Home Remedies For Clogged Ears

Olive Oil

If your ears are clogged because the wax has built up over time, olive oil might come to the rescue. It soaks into the wax and makes it easier to remove it by loosening it up. Heat a small amount of olive oil, but make sure it is only lukewarm, not hot, as the high temperature might damage the ear canal and the eardrum. Take a dropper and lie down. You might want to ask someone else to help you with the application of the olive oil into your ears as this way you won’t move and you’ll be simply more comfortable. Also, you will avoid staining the pillow or the clothes.

Apply a few drops into the ear facing upwards and leave it for 10 minutes. Put a clean cloth or a cotton bud large enough to absorb the olive over your ear. Lift your head and tilt it so that the oil can flow out of the ear. Some debris will be already gone, but any leftovers may have to be removed with an ear bud. Make sure, however, that you do it very gently. If need be, repeat the process on the same ear and then turn the sides. Olive oil is very gentle to the skin so there is no risk of causing a damage to the delicate tissue of the ear.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Alcohol

If olive oil treatment did not give satisfactory results, you might want to use something stronger, like the solution of apple cider vinegar and alcohol. This mixture not only breaks up the wax but also has antibacterial properties and may help prevent infections. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with two tablespoons of alcohol. Apply the solution the way described above and leave it for 10 minutes. Cleanse the ears gently with an ear bud to remove the wax that has loosened up after the treatment. The combination of apple cider and vinegar and alcohol is quite strong and even though it is very effective and additionally kills bacteria, it shouldn’t be used too often. It’s best if you keep this option only for some more serious cases of wax-clogged ears.

Glycerine and Hydrogen Peroxide

Another ear unclogging mixture you can make at home from commonly used products is the solution of hydrogen peroxide and glycerine. Take an equal amount of water and hydrogen peroxide. Make sure you use the 3% version of hydrogen peroxide as any stronger version may cause damage to the ears. Add a few drops of glycerine to the mixture and apply it with a dropper into the affected ear. Leave it for 5-10 minutes and tilt your head to remove the liquid. You might feel some tingling sensation in your ear during the treatment. It is caused by the hydrogen peroxide coming in contact with the skin tissue, but it’s perfectly natural so you don’t need to worry about it and you can continue the treatment. Alternatively, you can use the hydrogen peroxide on its own. It will do practically the same job, but won’t include the tissue protection factor that glycerine guarantees.


Cleaning your ears with water inserted through a syringe is also a very simple and practical way to remove excessive wax that blocks the ears. You should consider, however, using water that had been boiled and cooled down or you can reach for distilled water. This will reduce the possibility of a bacterial infection, which might be not only painful, but also dangerous for the ears. Fill the syringe with water, insert the tip in the ear and point it upwards and slightly sideways. Squeeze the bulb of the syringe so that the water enters the ear and cleanses the walls of the ear. Leave the water inside for 10 minutes so that the wax gets soaked and becomes easier to be removed.

Valsalva Maneuver

If your ears are clogged not because of the wax build-up but because of a temporary malfunction of the Eustachian tube, you need to look for a solution that will open the tubes and regulate the pressure in the ear. The Valsalva Maneuver is one of the simplest ways to do it and you probably have seen some people on the plain doing it during the landing of take-off. Take a deep breath, close the nostrils with your fingers and let the air out slowly through the nose. Do it slowly and gently since strong pressure may hurt the ear drum. At some point, you should hear a quiet, popping sound in the affected ear or in both ears – of both of them got blocked. This means that your Eustachian tubes are open again. If the sensation of clogged ears does not go by now, repeat the process. Even though this technique usually gives an instant relief, if that’s not your case, don’t worry and try it once again after a few minutes. Sometimes it takes the Eustachian tubes a few day to pop open again. However, of the sensation prolongs unnaturally, contact the doctor.


When your ears feel clogged because the Eustachian tubes got blocked due to the pressure differences, you can also try yawning. Simply open your mouth until you hear a popping sound in your ears. If after the first time you don’t notice any improvement in the hearing, try doing it two or three times more. Once you repeat it a few times, the Eustachian tubes should open and the sensation of clogged ears should be gone.

Chewing Gum

We already know that some jaw movements, like when you yawn, might regulate the pressure in your clogged ears. The same goes for chewing gum. It’s more about the movement than the actual chewing gum, so you can just pretend that you gnaw on something. Once you hear the popping sound, your hearing should be back to normal again. Chewing an actual gum has an extra benefit of stimulating the production of saliva, which, in turn, makes you swallow the excess liquid and it’s good to know that the moves your jaw and throat makes during the action of swallowing also influences the pressure in your ears.


Gargling with warm water and salt solution is another simple trick that can help you get rid of the unclogged ears sensation. It is highly recommended especially to those who suffer from clogged ears due to cold and flu. The salt solution has antiseptic properties, therefore, it inhibits the infection in the throat. Warm water also alleviates potential pain.

To make this solution heat a glass of water and dissolve a teaspoon of kitchen salt in it. Gargle with this solution for 15 to 30 seconds and spit it out. Repeat the process until you run out of the mixture. The movements your throat has to make when you gargle affects the pressure in the ears and should help unblock the Eustachian tubes.

Warm Compress

Those who suffer from clogged ears caused by sinus infection should try using a warm compress. The temperature of the compress not only relaxes the muscles and unblocks the ears but also alleviates the pain caused by the infection. Get a clean cloth and soak it in hot water. Wring out the excess to make sure the water doesn’t unnecessarily get into the ear. Lie down on one side, with the affected ear facing up and place the compress over the ear. Relax for 10 to 15 minutes and let the temperature loosen the congestion and promote fluid drainage. This will, in turn, change the pressure in the ears and you should start hearing as normal again. Very often in the case of clogged ears caused by sinus infection, it is enough to do the warm compress treatment just on one ear as the temperature spreads across the head, but in some more severe cases, you may have to repeat the whole process on the other ear too in order to achieve desired results.


Inhalation works the same way as the warm compress treatment and it has been reported to be even more effective. It is also recommended to people who suffer from clogged ears caused by cold and flu. Obviously, it is less straightforward because you have to prepare a bowl with hot water and a towel. Then you need to sit with your face over the water, cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale the steam for 15 minutes. During this treatment your ears should get unclogged, regardless of the reason. If the Eustachian tube got blocked due to the pressure, it should open when exposed to a higher temperature. If it’s blocked because of an excessive amount of wax, the hot steam should loosen it up. You can take a better advantage of the inhalation and add some essential oils to the water. This will help you unblock the nose and the sinuses in case the are the underlying causes of your blocked ears.

Let Gravity Help

In some cases your ears are blocked because some water gets trapped inside. This may often happen when you swim, take a bath or a shower. If you have to deal with it while on the beach or at the swimming pool, the Valsalva Maneuver described above should be a quick fix. If you are at home, you can simply lie down and let gravity do the work. If you have some water trapped only in one of your ears, obviously you need to lie down on the affected one. You might want to place a soft towel on your pillow so that it absorbs the liquid that will come out of your ear. When you wake up in the morning, the problem should be already solved. If it’s not, try some of the other remedies we recommend. In case you have clogged ears accompanied by pain, contact the doctor immediately.

Hair Dryer

Another solution for water trapped inside the ear, which causes the sensation of clogged ears, is using the hair dryer. Switch the hair dryer on and set it to warm. Avoid very high temperatures as it can cause burns on the sensitive skin of both your ear and the face. Direct the stream of warm air on the affected ear and keep it in this position for two to three minutes. For better results you can pull the ear lobe. This way the ear canal will get slightly straightened and the air will be able to penetrate the deeper areas of the ear. Thanks to the warm temperature the water trapped in your ear should evaporate and your hearing should be in a perfect condition again. Remember not to prolong this treatment more than necessary since the flow of hot air may hurt the ear drum.

Garlic Juice Drops

While garlic might not be the most obvious choice when dealing with clogged ears, it can actually work wonders. Garlic is known for its antibacterial properties and is a great home remedy for anyone who suffers from clogged ears because it not only dries up the moist trapped inside but also kills bacteria and prevents any potential infection from spreading across the ear canal. The garlic juice drops treatment may be a little more time consuming than other remedies recommended here, but it is definitely worth a try.

Peel 10 to 12 fresh garlic cloves and press them on a large spoon or into a small cup. Take a thin, clean cloth and place the pressed garlic on it. Wrap it really tight and squeeze the cloth over a cup. This way you get garlic juice, to which you can add two or three drops of olive oil. Mix the ingredients well and apply the combination into the affected ear. Use a dropper to do it because otherwise you might spill a lot of your garlic juice drops which took you so much time to prepare. Leave the mixture in the ear for 5 minutes and tilt your head so that the liquid flows out. Garlic juice drops soften the ear wax, disinfect the ear canal and help unclog it as well as help dry out any trapped moist.

Over the Counter Help

Obviously, there is a wide range of products available in pharmacies that may help you deal with clogged ears very easily. First of all, in order to avoid the problem of debris build-up and the issue of water trapped in the ear, you can supply yourself with special ear plugs that you will wear whenever you expose your ears to the factors that increase those risks. You can wear the ear plugs when you go swimming or when you are refurbishing your house.

If you don’t have time to prepare any of the above-mentioned solutions to cleanse the ears, you can always get a bottle of ready-made ear drops and if you are really prone to ear problems, you can always have the tiny bottle on you and apply the drops whenever the necessity arises. Many people do it and it’s a very individual issue because it depends largely on the shape of the ear and the condition of his or her ears.

When Should I See The Doctor?

If none of the remedies described above works, it is probably necessary to contact the doctor. The wax in the ear might be so compacted that you will not be able to deal with it yourself. In that case, the doctor will apply the appropriate treatment, which is usually painless and only causes some minimal discomfort. Some prescription-only ear drops can be a solution to your problem as they are stronger than the over-the-counter products and they break up the ear wax. Make sure, however, that you follow exactly the use instructions from the leaflet since overdoing those drops may damage the eardrum. If the doctor states that the amount and form of ear wax make it too hard to remove chemically, you will have to undergo a treatment during which an ENT specialist will remove the wax with specially designed tools.

Also, if the sensation of clogged ear lasts more than two weeks, you should contact the doctor who will check what the reason is. Make sure you don’t delay the visit if you notice that the symptoms have been present for an unnaturally long time because a minor problem might develop into an infection, which can be recognised by pain in the ear, sometimes affecting the jaw and the back of the neck. Other factors that may indicate an infection are a fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and yellow or green drainage from the ear. Whenever you notice at least one of those symptoms, don’t hesitate and see the doctor immediately as untreated infection may result in temporary or permanent damage to the hearing.

How to Get Rid of Clogged Ears – Top Home Remedies
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