There are many clogged/blocked ear causes that lead to extreme pain and discomfort. Sinus infections, cold, allergies and nasal congestion can all lead to ear congestion giving rise to headaches, ear pain and other symptoms which can be extremely discomforting. Let us take a look at some easy home remedies to unclog ears from congestion.
1. Dry the ears
One of the common blocked ear causes occurs due to swimmer’s ear. It typically arises when water enters the ear canal giving rise to tingling, pressure and pain in the ears. The simplest way to get rid of ear congestion caused by water or fluid in the ears is drying the ear. Use a hair dryer on the lowest setting on the ear or simply tilt your head to one side as you lie down. This will allow the water to drain off. If you suffer from ear pain after swimming, you must protect your ears with ear plugs or by wearing a tight swimming cap. Never use object like Q-tips to dry the ears as these are very sharp and can injure the ear canal.
2. Flex the muscles around the ears
This is a great way to relieve pressure on the ear drums and it can easily help you unlock an ear from a cold. Yawning or chewing are two methods of flexing the muscles around the jaw. The contraction and relaxation of muscles around the ear canal helps the ears pop and relieves pressure. You can also inhale deeply and close your nostrils tightly while trying to blow out the air through the nose. This remedy drains the Eustachian tubes making your ears pop.
3. Keep your head upright
If you have clogged ears from cold, you might wake up in the night due to intense pain. This occurs because the mucus drains into the Eustachian tubes and presses on the inner ear causing pain. One way to ease the pain is to keep several pillows under the head. This will relieve blocked ears caused by allergies, sinusitis or cold and flu infections. You can also raise the head side of your bed by placing blocks or bricks under the legs.
4. Steam inhalation
This is the easiest way to relieve clogged ear sinus infection or allergy. Boil water in a steamer and position yourself over the spout while covering your head with a towel. Inhale the vapors deeply. The steam will loosen up the mucus and allow it to drain out. You can even stand in a steaming bathroom with the shower running. Steam inhalation quickly relieves clogged ears and headache caused by cold or sinus infection. Inhale the steam at least for 10 minutes. Repeat every 3-4 hours depending on the intensity of the cold.
5. Hydrogen peroxide
Add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide inside the ears. The solution will foam and bubble bringing out the hardened ear wax and mucus. This simple remedy is perfect for ‘ear feels clogged but doesn’t hurt’. You can also use it to relieve earache caused by sinus infection, flu or allergies.
Blocked ear after cold can be easily treated with vinegar. You can use white vinegar or organic, raw apple cider vinegar. Mix a few drops of vinegar with warm water and add it to the clogged ears. Lay down on your side opposite to the one being treated. Vinegar is antibacterial and antifungal and helps eliminate the pathogens that cause ear pain and blocked ears. Repeat the remedy several times a day as needed.
Ear infections caused by bacteria or fungi can also cause ear pain and clogged ear sensation. To relieve pain, most doctors prescribe antibiotics which only give temporary relief. Ear infections tend to recur in children owing to weak immune system. Frequent use of antibiotics only leads to resistance rendering the drugs ineffective. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and it is available in form of oil, tinctures or capsules. Simply add 3-4 drops of warm garlic oil inside the ears to eliminate bacteria and fungi and get instant relief from ear pain and blocked ears. Adults and children with frequent clogged ears can also take 1-2 capsules of garlic oil twice a day to strengthen the immune system and get rid of blocked ear.
Add ½ tsp of organic turmeric powder to a cup of hot water and sip the mixture slowly. This builds immunity and also fights chronic infections that cause blocked ears.
9. Hot water bottle or warm compress
Hold a hot water bottle or a warm compress (made by dipping a soft cloth in hot water and wringing out the excess water) against the clogged ears to get instant relief from pressure. The heat causes the wax and accumulated fluid to drain out giving immediate relief from pressure and pain.
10. Herbal ear wash
Make soothing ear wash with antiseptic herbs like chamomile, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, elder flowers or golden seal to soothe away the pain and drain the mucus. Boil the herbs in water for 10 minutes, cool a bit and strain the infusion. Add a few drops of this herbal ‘tea’ inside the clogged ears. You can also buy tinctures of these herbs and mix them with warm water to treat the affected ears.
11. Essential oils
Many essential oils can help unblock an ear from cold. Add a few drops of chamomile, tea tree or lavender oil to 1 tsp of warm olive oil. Using a dropper, add a few drops of the blend inside the clogged ears. Chamomile oil is particularly beneficial for blocked ears and ear pain because of its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. You can also diffuse these oils in your house during flu season or add a few drops to a steamer and inhale their medicinal vapors to prevent clogged ears from cold.
12. Dietary changes
Certain foods can cause clogged ears as they increase the mucus in the body. Avoid dairy products, refined carbs and excess wheat in the diet. Include warming foods like onion, garlic and ginger etc which also have natural antibiotic properties that drain the mucus and phlegm away.
13. Stay away from polluted areas
Smokers are at higher risk of clogged ears and ear pain. Quitting the habit can dramatically reduce the chances of getting middle ear infections. Children must stay away from passive or second hand smoke as well as from industrial or heavily polluted areas to prevent clogged ears from colds, allergies and ear infections.
If clogged ears and pain do not get better despite using above home remedies, you need to see a doctor. This is especially necessary if you have hearing loss or other symptoms like fever, cough, headache, vomiting etc.