Blocked Ears (The Best Natural How to Unclog Secrets)
Blocked ears can be maddening!
How often do you take a moment to feel grateful for each of your five senses?
Typically, we don’t appreciate what we have until it isn’t working as it should.
You may experience a funny feeling in your head, as well as reducing hearing capacity.
It can even make things sound as though you’re underwater.
Blocked ears are a common and frustrating problem.
Today, we’ll look at causes and remedies for blocked ears.
Are you ready to un-stuff your head and hear as clear as a bell?
Blocked Ears - What Causes Them?
First, we have to figure out why it is you’re experiencing what seems to be a blockage.
Blocked ears - here are several common causes.
1. Foreign objects.
Honestly, I know there’s a good chance you’re here today not for your ears, but your child’s.
Therefore, I have to remind you that kids do stick things in their ears (and up their noses).
As you can imagine, many are not willing to admit what happened, especially when it goes wrong.
So if your child can’t hear or is complaining about their ear suddenly, have a look with a flashlight.
If you see something, or see any type of fluid leaking out, it’s time for a pediatrician.
And look... this happens to adults, too.
If you’re fond of sticking that budget cotton swab way down into your ear, all types of things can go wrong.
More on that in a minute, though.
2. A change in altitude.
If you head to a mountaintop or fly in a plane, the sudden change in altitude can create pressure too rapidly to equalize.
We call this have TMJ.
The problem can be even more intense if you already have allergies, a cold, or a sinus infection.
In some cases, barotrauma can damage the eardrum.
So if you’re sick at all, reconsider activities and trips that require extreme changes in air pressure.
That even includes scuba diving!
The majority of us only deal with serious blockages when we’re ill.
More than anything else, congestion can rob us of our hearing and makes our heads feel muffled and fuzzy.
From sinus infections to colds, excess fluids can collect in the middle ear.
You may even start to feel dizzy, as the congestion makes it difficult for pressure in the ear to stabilize.
But fear not...
...we have plenty of home remedies for this coming up a little later.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
It involves the joint of the jaw near the ear.
If you experience pain in this joint, pr frequent popping and clicking, you may have TMJ.
And yes, it can affect your hearing.
In fact, more than a quarter of people with TMJ get frequent earaches, or episodes of ringing in the ears.
The reason this jaw dysfunction blocks up your ears is simply because they’re next to one another.
With a TMJ episode, there’s the potential for inflammation.
This can cause fluid to build up in the middle ear.
Also, swelling from TMJ can impact the middle ear, causing some temporary hearing loss.
5. Wax buildup.
There are numerous, sometimes vague, reasons for excessive ear wax production.
In some cases, it’s just part of our biology.
But we can also produce more wax if we have narrow canals, hair in the ears, or extra bone.
As we age, the wax becomes harder and more dry.
Ultimately, a lot of average hearing loss is just blocked ear wax.
The wax may be so much that it blocks the ear off on its own.
However, many of us also unknowingly help it along.
If you notice you have wax buildup, you may grab a cotton swab and go to town trying to break it up.
But in the process, you push the chunks of wax further in, exacerbating the problem.
6. Enlarged tonsils.
Along with adenoids, swollen tonsils can cause a number of ear-related problems.
In the first place, people with swollen tonsils and adenoids are more susceptible to ear and sinus infections.
Even without an infection, these conditions can cause fluid buildup in the middle ear, which can impact hearing.
7. Acoustic neuroma.
One rarer cause of blocked ears is acoustic neuroma.
This is simply a benign tumor that develops on the nerve that connects the ear and brain.
Only a few thousand people in the US get this diagnosis every year.
Hearing loss is the main symptom.
However, others also experience ringing in the ears and dizziness. In some cases, numbness may occur in the face.
Believe it or not, you can get the dreaded Swimmer’s Ear even if you haven’t gone swimming.
Swimmer’s ear happens when moisture enters the ear canal and remains there.
Bacteria from the water grows and flourishes, causing an infection.
Some people experience this type of bacterial infection in very humid places.
If you spend a lot of time in saunas, in the rain, or anywhere else damp, you can get it.
You can even get it from bathing!
Blocked Ears - How to Clear them.
At this stage, it’s safe to say you have some idea about why your ear is blocked.
It can even be due to what side you slept on last night.
In nearly, any case, there are a number of these you can try.
Here are some ways to unblock those ears, and what causes they correspond to.
1. The Valsalva Maneuver. Try this if your blockage is due to buildup, but especially if it’s an altitude issue.
Sit or lie down, and take a normal breath.
Now, close your mouth and pinch your nose shut at the same time.
Next, attempt to exhale.
The air won’t escape, but it will push through your sinuses and airways.
Sometimes, this forces them to “pop” open.
2. Chewing, yawning, and generally working the jaw. Working the jaw is a good way to rearrange fluid and also get pressurized ears to pop.
If you know you’re going to experience a change in altitude, do this as you ascend or descend.
Chew some gum, or have a light snack.
Work your jaw around gently, and let every yawn you feel coming on happen.
Moving the jaw around moves the fine structure of the ear around as well.
This can reduce the chance of air pressure building.
It can also help shift wax buildup, as long as the buildup isn’t severe or impacted.
3. A few drops of oil. If you know you don’t have a ruptured eardrum, try this.
It’s especially good for hard, dry ear wax.
All you need is a dropper and some extra virgin olive oil.
Lay down on your side, with the blocked ear facing up.
Tug your ear gently to make the entry to the canal a little easier to access.
Drip two drops of oil in the ear.
Massage the outer area only to help it make its way around inside.
Finally, stay in position for approximately 10 minutes to let the oil work.
The oil should make the wax softer, therefore making it easier for it to naturally clear itself out.
4. Massaging the outer ear. Need your ears to pop or dealing with congestion?
Don’t underestimate a light massage to get things moving.
If you like, you can skip putting in oil and stick to the massage.
To begin, pull gently at the edges of your outer ear.
Change spots to open and stretch it from various angles.
Now, use your fingertips to massage behind the ear and below, all the way down to the jaw joint.
It’s not a top-level cure, but it’s a good complement to any other home remedies you try.
5. Ear drops or congestion medicine. When you have congestion, your blood vessels in sinus pathways are dilated.
This type of swelling makes it hard for mucus to leave.
Over the counter decongestants shrink these vessels, so fluid can get moving again. For many, it’s that simple.
However, not everyone prefers an OTC decongestant.
Instead, you can try any number of decongesting home remedies.
Those recipes with apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper are among the most effective for blocked ears.
There are also specific drops designed to soften ear wax, if you’re unsure of olive oil.
Aside from this, nasal saline sprays and neti pots - check price, may also help.
Just be sure the water and salt solution is sterile.
6. Steam. Another great natural way to decongest is through steam.
I like combining this method with a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil - check price.
Get a large bowl, and pour in a few cups of water that has just been brought to a boil.
Right away, lean over the bowl with eyes closed.
Cover your head with a towel to tent the steam in.
Breathe deeply through your nose until the water begins to cool.
7. Nothing. If you have a wax buildup that has created a blockage, do not try to work it out yourself with a cotton swab.
Do not stick anything in your ears, period.
This problem often resolves itself on its own, or you can go get irrigated at your doctor’s office.
With delicate structures like the ear, it is sometimes best to do nothing, rather than everything.
What About Ear Candling?
If you’re looking up remedies to try, you’re sure to come across ear candling.
Ear candling is when you place a lit candle shaped like a cone at the entrance of your ear.
The heat is alleged to create some kind of suction that helps draw wax out of your blocked ears.
There is no proof that it does so.
No clinical trial finds that candling creates suction.
In fact, one test found that the heat from the candle wasn’t even great enough to reach the ear canal.
So it probably wouldn’t even help soften ear wax.
Moreover, this practice can be dangerous for obvious reasons.
Many have made their condition worse by getting candle wax in their ears.
Others have been injured by the flame from the candle.
It’s very easy for your hair or clothing to catch fire from an ear candle, if not your skin.
All in all, it is not worth the risk.
Should You See a Doctor?
Are blocked ears a reason to see a doctor?
In some cases, medical intervention is best.
If you experience any of the following, book an appointment as soon as you can for relief.
- You are experiencing sustained hearing loss.
- You notice discolored discharge or blood in your ear wax or fluid.
- You are so dizzy you cannot sit upright.
- You have a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Severe pain, so much that you may want to cry or have trouble concentrating.
If your blockage is due to illness, a doctor will most likely focus on treating that.
You may even be put on antibiotics.
This is effective if your ear troubles are due to bacteria.
Additionally, doctors will have the right tools to deal with the inside of the ear.
While you should never stick anything in the ear canal, medical pros have different instruments that may fix the issue.
The most popular among professional techniques is irrigation.
Also known as syringing, they simply flush the canal with warm water.
Some doctors will also use a micro suction vacuum to remove wax buildup.
They may also prescribe prescription-strength ear drops.
My final word on...
Can you hear me now?
We all experience blocked ears.
It can be strange and painful, but it’s a common problem.
Usually, it’s also nothing to worry about. And sometimes, it’s best to do nothing about it.
However, there are some gentle methods you can try at home encourage clear, open ears.
- Breathing steam through your nose
- Massaging the area
- Working your jaw and chewing gum during altitude changes
- Taking an OTC or homemade decongestant when you’re sick
- Flushing your nasal passages
- Trying the Valsalva Maneuver
And, of course, checking our kids ears to make sure they’re not sticking foreign objects in there.
You never know.
Speaking of foreign object, remember that cotton swab is not the saving grace you think it is.
It often makes blockages worse.
I’d appreciate hearing from you on this. How do you unplug stuffy ears?
What’s your favorite way to decongest naturally?
Do you have TMJ?
Please share with us know below.