Suffering from a blocked ear? Learn about why your ear is blocked and blocked ear remedies and treatments.
If you are experiencing the sensation of blocked ears that can be caused by a few different things. The reasons can vary including fluid in the ear, changes in atmospheric pressure, excessive ear wax, or even small objects like cotton blocking the eardrum. Each cause has a different treatment, so it's important to get a professional opinion.
Why is my ear blocked
If suddenly you feel my ear feels blocked and I can't hear properly it’s possible that some earwax has become clogged in your ear canal. However, if your ear feels blocked while you are driving or flying that can be cause by changes in barometric pressure. Exposure to loud sounds, like a rock concert or a noisy work environment can leave your ear blocked and ringing. Finally, ear blocked sinuses can be caused by congestion in your sinuses that spreads to ear canal or illness that leads to fluid in your ears (see our blog post "How to drain fluid from the middle ear"). All of these are common causes for a blocked ear sensation, and each one has its remedy.
How to open a blocked ear at home
Here are several methods how to open a blocked ear at home - most of these blocked ear remedies can be performed at home, but if there are any complications it’s important to seek the advice of a trained medical professional.
Ear wax buildup - Sometimes, blocked ears can be caused by too much ear wax. Normally, the ears have their own built-in cleaning system. However, some people may produce too much ear wax or don't efficiently clear it. If you don't know how to remove excess ear wax by yourself, your healthcare professional can remove it with special tools to avoid rupturing your eardrum or pushing the wax even further into your ear. If you have an otoscope camera you can look inside your ear canal and determine how clogged your ear is, and also try to clean out the wax yourself. You could also try over-the-counter ear drops for clogged ears.
Foreign object - It is not uncommon for young children to put things in their ears. If the child isn't old enough to tell you what they're feeling, some clues include ear rubbing and grimacing. This doesn't usually cause fever or cold symptoms unless the object is in the ear long enough to cause an infection. You can use a digital otoscope to examine the ear canal and possibly use an ear wax spoon to remove the item, but take special care to avoid pushing the object deeper. Never stick anything sharp inside of the ear in an attempt to remove any object. Oftentimes, the best thing to do is to take the child to a pediatrician's office.
It's also not just children that get objects stuck in their ears. Many adults unfortunately have the habit of "cleaning" their ears with Q tips or cotton swabs. Besides being bad for your ears as this pushes the ear wax in further and can lead to it becoming compacted, you also can get cotton stuck in your ears. Read our blog post "How to get cotton out of your ear" for more information.
Fluid in ear - Ear aches and infection are common side effects of basic ear, nose, and throat illnesses. If you get an ear infection one common symptom is fluid in the middle ear. Other causes for fluid in your middle ear could be allergies, sinus infections, viral infections, and even acid reflux. As your earache and infection subsides the fluid doesn’t always leave the middle ear. The inflammation from the ear infection often causes the lining of the eustachian tube to swell shut - this can cause your ear to feel clogged. Often times this is caused by a virus and will clear up like a common cold, however there is always a chance that there could be a bacterial infection and a prescription of antibiotics may be required. If the symptoms are not improving after 24 hours you should see a doctor, especially if combined with an ear ache and fever.
Altitude changes - The eustachian tube and ear drums help to equalize pressure between the middle ear and the outer ear. This is why your ears can feel blocked when you are driving up a steep mountain, taking off in an airplane, or while scuba diving. If precautions are not taken, extreme pressure changes can lead to an ear injury, such as a ruptured eardrum. The best way to prevent this and to help protect the ears from altitude changes is to swallow, chew, or yawn often. This opens up your eustachian tube to allow outside air to enter the ear.
Loud noises - If your blocked ear sensation is combined with a high frequency ringing sensation, usually after being exposed to a loud noise then you may have tinnitus. Tinnitus, or ringing in ears, is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous, and can vary in loudness. It is often worse when background noise is low, so you may be most aware of it at night when you're trying to fall asleep in a quiet room. In rare cases, the sound beats in sync with your heart (pulsatile tinnitus). If the tinnitus is caused by too much earwax, you can use a digital otoscope to self-diagnose and usually to self-treat an earwax blockage, but extreme earwax impactions may require a visit to the doctor. Sometimes tinnitus takes many months to subside and some people suffer from it for years so it isn’t always curable.
Blocked ear home remedies
If you woke up with blocked ear and want to clear the blockage at home then you should start with the easiest blocked ear home remedies first. Start by trying to clear your ear when you swallow or yawn - often times this is enough pressure to pop your ears and clear a small amount of fluid in your Eustachian tubes. If that doesn’t work, it can be very helpful to look in your ear canal with a digital otoscope and try to identify if your ear canal is blocked by ear wax or some type of foreign object. The otoscope will also give you an idea of how to remove the object hopefully. Whatever you do, don’t push the object further down your ear canal.
If your blocked ear happens at the same time as a cold or fever, then you should take a Tylenol or ibuprofen, as directed, for the pain and see if the symptoms improve. If the symptoms persist after 24 hours you should consult with a health professional in case the cause bacterial. If you are also experiencing a fluid discharge or blood coming from your ear canal seek professional help right away.
Professional blocked ear treatment
If you are unsuccessful at how to clear a blocked ear at home or you determine that your problem is of a more serious nature then it is highly recommended to seek professional help. Doctors are skilled at blocked ear treatments including removing objects from ears, diagnosing ear aches, and treating infections so don’t hesitate to see a doctor if your blocked ear systems persist.
Shop ScopeAround Otoscopes Today
If you want to know why is my ear blocked it makes great sense to invest in a digital otoscope. ScopeAround brought the first digital otoscope with camera for consumers to the market over five years ago so we have more experience and customer feedback to make the best digital otoscopes available. We make a complete range of digital otoscope products including free-standing models to USB-connected, Lightning cable-connected, and WiFi-connected devices with an otoscope camera app for your mobile device.
ScopeAround brought the first digital otoscope with camera for consumers to the market over five years ago so we have more experience and customer feedback to make the best digital otoscopes available. We make a complete range of digital otoscope products including free-standing models to USB-connected, Lightning cable-connected, and WiFi-connected devices with an otoscope camera app for your mobile device.
Explore ScopeAround Products:
- 5-In-1 Multipurpose Wireless Otoscope & Ear Cleaning Camera
- Digital Otoscope With Screen And Ear Wax Removal Tools
- MS500 Digital Otoscope With Screen
- Wireless Otoscope Camera With Ear Wax Removal
- USB Otoscope With Ear Wax Removal
- Ear Tips For Otoscope - Pack Of 4
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