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All You Need To Know About Unclogging Blocked Ears With Home Remedies

Clogged ears can muffle your hearing, but it is not an indication of your actual hearing. A clogged ear is due to blockage caused by ear wax in the ear canal. Your ears could get clogged even when the Eustachian tube doesn’t open and shut properly. This tube helps regulate and equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the atmospheric pressure outside the ear.

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Symptoms of a clogged ear

The most common symptoms of a clogged ear include:

  • Reduced hearing capacity
  • Popping sensation in the ear
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Severe earache
  • Itching in the ear
  • Loss of balance or dizzy spells
  • Windy, whooshing sound in the ear
  • Feeling of having liquid or mucous in the ear
  • Bleeding/discharge from affected ear – in extreme cases

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Causes for clogged ears

The most common causes for clogged ears include:

  • Wax buildup
  • Cold
  • A sinus infection
  • Allergies
  • Blocked nasal passage
  • Accumulation of water in the ear
  • Blockage in the Eustachian tubes
  • Fluctuations in the atmospheric pressure

Home remedies for clogged ears

A clogged ear is annoying as well as quite painful when it’s severe. Hence, it needs to be treated early. Although you can use ear drops to help with unclogging your ears, there are some easy, simple, and effective home remedies for clogged ears that actually work. Let’s take a look:

1. Apple cider vinegar and alcohol

A bacterial infection could also cause clogging in the ears. Using a combination of alcohol and apple cider vinegar helps in unclogging a blocked ear.


  • In a clean bowl, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and alcohol. Lie down on your side and put a few drops of this solution using a dropper in the affected ear. Now place a cotton ball to keep the solution inside your ear. Do not raise your head, but lie in the same position for about 10 minutes. Then, remove the earwax buildup with Q-tip. Repeat the process in the other ear, if that is clogged too.

2. Chewing gum

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Chewing gum helps in unclogging an ear that is blocked due to sudden fluctuation in air pressure. It helps open up the Eustachian tubes, thus relieving the excess pressure in the ears and opening up the clogged ears.


  • If you know that you’d be flying, it pays to have a chewing gum handy in your pocket/purse. Chew it while landing and/or taking off, and it should help with clogged ears.

3. Gargling

Gargling hot water that has salt dissolved in it helps provide relief from clogged ears. It also helps ease nasal congestion which may be aggravating the problem.


  • Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 glass of slightly hot water and let it dissolve. Gargle with this solution for about 30 seconds, before spitting it out. Repeat this till you find relief from the clogged ear.

4. Garlic

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Garlic is another natural remedy that helps in unclogging blocked ears.


  • Crush 2 cloves of garlic and add it to a saucepan that contains 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Heat this for a few seconds and then take it off the flame. Allow it to cool down to lukewarm level. Now, lie down put this garlic oil into your clogged ear with a dropper, drop by drop. Let it sit for about a minute or so, before draining out the oil. You will find relief from the clogging.

5. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another easy remedy that helps unclog blocked ears.


  • Use a dropper to put a few drops of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide into the affected ear, by keeping your head tilted sideways. You should soon hear a fizzing sound, which is normal. Let it stay for about 10 minutes, or until the fizzing stops. Tilt your head so as to drain out the loosened earwax and the solution from your ear.

Tip: Use hydrogen peroxide sparingly when trying to unclog your blocked ears, as it can cause damage to your eardrums.

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6. Olive oil

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Olive oil is another effective remedy that helps soften the earwax buildup in your ear. This helps in easy removal of the wax, thus unclogging your ear.


  • Warm some extra virgin olive oil. Using a dropper, put a few drops of this lukewarm olive oil in the affected ear, with your head tilted sideways. Let it settle for 10 minutes, so that it helps soften the built up earwax. Remove the wax with a Q-tip gently, so that you don’t hurt the inner ear.

Tip: Baby oil or mineral oil work as well, if you don’t have olive oil on hand.

7. Steam

Steam inhalation helps treat clogged ears that are caused by a cold. The steam will helps dilute and loosen the mucous and phlegm, thus giving you relief from clogged ears. It will also help loosen earwax buildup as well.


  • Boil some water in a saucepan. Take it off the heat and add a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil to it. Slowly inhale the steam rising up and out of it, while covering your head with a large towel. Do this till the water cools down. Repeat as needed.
  • Another option is to take a hot shower and inhaling the steam rising out of the hot water. It will help unclog your ears.

8. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that helps unclog blocked ears.


  • Heat 1 glass of water in a saucepan, but not boiling. Take it off the heat and add a few drops of tea tree oil to it. Tilt your head towards the rising steam so that it goes into the affected ear. This will help loosen up any earwax buildup that might be causing the clog.

9. Valsalva maneuver

This is a common remedy used to unclog blocked ears. It helps relieve stuffiness as well as the pain in the ear.


  • Shut your mouth and pinch your nostrils closed with your fingers. Then, take a deep breath and blow out air through your nose to regulate the air pressure. If done properly, you should hear (or feel, rather) a slight popping sound, which indicates that the Eustachian tubes are open again.

Tip: Avoid blowing your nose too hard as it may damage your eardrum.

10. Warm compress

A warm compress helps unclog ears that have been blocked due to a cold or a sinus infection. The warm heat from the compress helps loosen any congestion, while unclogging the ear and easing the associated pain.


  • Heat some water and dip a clean washcloth in it, wringing out the excess. Hold this warm, damp washcloth over the affected ear for about 10 minutes. This will help ease the pain, while also helping promote fluid drainage.
  • Wrap a filled hot water bottle in a thin towel and apply it to the affected ear for 10 minutes. It helps relieve the pressure and open up the clogged ear.

11. Warm water

Flushing warm water is known to help unclog a blocked ear.


  • Warm some water in a pan. Fill an ear syringe with this warm water. Now, tilt your head to the side, pulling your earlobe down to help open up the ear canal. With the syringe’s tip in the ear opening, point it slightly up and sideways, while squeezing the syringe to force warm water into your ear canal. The gentle force of the warm water will help loosen the earwax buildup, thus providing you relief from a clogged ear.

12. Yawning

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Simple yawning is known to help with a clogged ear. When you yawn, it decreases the air pressure in the ear, while helping activate the muscles that open up the Eustachian tubes.


  • Open your mouth and try to yawn till you feel a slight pop inside. Repeat if the first yawn didn’t give you any relief.

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Additional tips

  • Decongestants help ease clogged ears.
  • Keep your ears clean by clearing out the earwax regularly.
  • Certain essential oils help unclog blocked ears.
  • Nasal sprays help clear up clogged ears.
  • Dry your ears with a soft cloth or a tissue after taking a shower/bath.
  • Always use clean water to unclog the outer ear.
  • Avoid swimming or diving if you’re suffering from a cold or a respiratory infection.

If the problem persists, it is recommended that you consult a qualified physician. These home remedies for clogged ears actually work, but only if you follow the instructions properly.

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Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
12 Practical Home Remedies For Clogged Ears For Quick Relief
Clogged ears making it difficult to hear? Try these home remedies for clogged ears to find quick relief!
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg