How to Relieve a Clogged Ear

Clogged ears are a common problem associated with the common cold, influenza, allergies or a buildup of wax. The Eustachian tubes become obstructed, causing air flow to cease. The condition is painful and can affect a person's hearing if the infection is severe. A trip to the physician may be necessary in some cases, but relief often can be reached at home. Learn how to alleviate your plugged ears with simple at-home treatments.

Things You'll Need

  • Oral decongestant
  • Hydrogen peroxide


    • 1

      Swallow hard a few times to help unplug your ears. Close your mouth as you do so for best effect. The relief will be temporary but you can repeat the swallowing as often as you desire. Another simple mechanical action you can take is to yawn broadly several times.

    • 2

      Obtain relief from clogged ears by attempting to force their opening. Take a deep breath as you pinch your nostrils together and close your mouth. Attempt to blow the air out. If you hear a pop, you have successfully opened the Eustachian tubes in your ears. Unfortunately, this treatment may only provide temporary respite from your condition.

    • 3

      Visit your local drugstore for an oral decongestant. These over-the-counter medicines can provide relief by restricting blood flow to the vessels that are swollen. This reduction allows for air flow in the Eustachian tubes and relieves congestion.

    • 4

      Take a hot shower to help unclog your ears. Allow the steam to build as you bathe for 15 or more minutes. The heat and moisture will help to soften ear wax if it is what is causing your congestion problems. Once softened, you can remove the wax by flushing it out with warm tap water from a bulb syringe. Dry your ears thoroughly afterward to help prevent bacteria growth.

    • 5

      Place a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ears each day. This remedy will aid in clearing common infections and will keep germs from proliferating.

    • 6

      See a general practitioner or an ear specialist if your congestion does not clear up within a few days. You may have an infection that requires antibiotics, or a physician may need to flush your ears to allow for air flow in the Eustachian tubes. In severe cases, tubes may have to be inserted in your ears to provide sufficient ventilation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not travel by air when suffering from ear congestion as this will worsen your symptoms due to the change in pressure.
  • Never attempt to clear your ears by putting cotton swabs or any other objects inside the canals. It will not relieve the congestion and you may damage your ear drums.
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  • Photo Credit doctor visiting an ear image by TEMISTOCLE LUCARELLI from

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