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February 12, 2011

How to Unclog a Clogged Ear

First, one needs to know what is causing the clog before proper treatment can be initiated. There's a few assumptions here before proceeding.

• You have no ear problems typically
• There is no "pain" per se other than perhaps a pressure type pain. If there's actual PAIN present, you most likely have an ear infection and this article does not apply to you.
• You currently have no other symptoms (ie, sinus or nasal problems). An upper respiratory infection or sino-nasal problem may have triggered your ear problem, but you no longer have those symptoms anymore.
• You are older than 8 years of age.

Step 1:
Examine the ear canal with an otoscope. Look for any blockage like earwax or fluid.

If earwax is found, the first step is to get the earwax out! Although your doctor or an ENT specialist can do this for you, some rather try it at home by attempting to flush the earwax out. My personal at-home earwax flush kit favorite can be found here on

Step 2:
Assuming no earwax is present, the next step is to get a hearing test. Why? The hearing nerve can become damaged causing a sense of fullness or clogged sensation. Click here to read a Washington Post article about this. Treatment must be urgently pursued as there is only a short window of time when medications can reverse the nerve damage (around 4 weeks). After this period of time, there's not much that can be done other than wait and cross-the-fingers.

Step 3:
Assuming there is no earwax and a hearing test revealed no nerve damage, you either have fluid in the middle ear (serous otitis media) or pressure (eustachian tube dysfunction).

Regardless of fluid or pressure presence, the treatment is the same. Click here to read the protocol to fix this problem.

Remember that pressure/fluid buildup in the ear is just like water/pressure contained inside an inflated (water) balloon. It needs to be "released" in a physical manner. There is no "pill" that can automatically do this for you. Watch video explanation. Read more about this here.

Mythical Treatments:
There are a couple key points to make if you have reached Step #3.

You do NOT have an ear infection and antibiotics will make little if any difference. Antibiotics help with infections and only infections. It does not get rid of pressure or fluid (ie, throwing antibiotics into a swimming pool will not make the water disappear). Other common myths also need to be dispelled:

• Sudafed and other oral decongestants do not help unless you have nasal congestion and/or runny nose.
• Antihistamines like zyrtec, benadryl, allegra, claritin, etc do not help unless you have other allergy symptoms affecting the nose.
Saline flushes or nasal sprays also do not help unless there are associated nasal symptoms.

Products That Help Pop the Ear Due to Eustachian Tube Dysfunction or Fluid in the Middle Ear:

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

1 comment:

  1. my right ear is pulsating to my pulse beat It feels full but wax was removed a month ago .Have used nose spray (nasofan) for a month this has been useless(for swollen sinuses/.nose lining) Now getting dizzy woozy eyes, irritable and a little nauseous- now on amoxil & stemetil- which is giving me nightmares ! - started antibiotics yesterday- they had better remove this banging - HELP Sue Devon UK


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