“My ear is blocked,””I can hear myself speaking louder than usual.””It looks like I have water in my ear.”Many people go to the clinic by describing these symptoms. They worried about this feeling, and seeking the way how to unclog ears. Without knowing that it is about a plug of earwax. And even less how to make it disappear. Some, less patient, have already tried some manipulations, with more or less success. Unblocking an ear, yourself is possible, but you have to be delicate and go with caution.
Each of my consultations begins with a careful examination of my patient’s ear canal. It must be free of any substance, even natural, to allow sound to reach the eardrum effectively.
When a plug of earwax gets in the way, you must therefore dislodge it. At this time, when we avoid hospital visits as much as possible, it can be useful to know what steps to take to relieve a blocked ear. So, let’s see how to unclog ears.
How to unclog ears?
I think I have a plug of “earwax”or “human wax”what is the correct word? I hear this phrase regularly in my office. The correct answer is earwax, but the pun, being fun, is not innocent; earwax is a sticky substance akin to wax, and it is probably this phonetic connection that is the origin of the name.
Earwax plugs, also called earplugs or wax plugs, are harmless and usually go away over time. I was explaining recently to my friend who call me to find out what to do with his left ear, which was clogged. He was a little panicked because he could hear less well on this side and was afraid of losing his hearing permanently. He was willing to do anything to remove what appeared to a plug of earwax, as he wanted to avoid a medical consultation. My first instinct was to warn him against himself.
Before you start, could you find out the right way to do it?
The wax plug is not harmful in itself; despite the discomfort, the greatest danger to your ear is you!
I have seen so many ears injured by objects introduced carelessly to dislodge a plug of earwax that I prefer to prevent rather than cure. After reassuring my friend about his condition, I advised him to let time do its work. However, it is possible to dislodge a plug by yourself. Curious by nature – and above all eager to do something – he wanted to know more.
Why do I have to unclog ears?
Most of the time, an earplug caused by an accumulation of earwax. Which in part blocks the passage of air and sound.
Our body produces earwax to protect the eardrum from bacteria and foreign objects that could reach it. Oily and yellowish in appearance, earwax is not attractive. And many people embarrassed with it. Its role is, however, essential to the good health of our ears. The sticky barrier it forms is even an obstacle to insects that would seek to venture there.
In most of us, earwax production automated; the body’s quantity is sufficient. And the substance eliminated on its own. No action other than routine hygiene measures required.
On the other hand, in some people, earwax is more consistent and not eliminated naturally through the ear canal, forming a plug. That cuts off some of the natural sounds and sounds amplified by hearing aids. A specific intervention may then be necessary to dislodge the plug.
How do I remove the earwax plug to unclog ears?
Letting time do its work is often the best solution. However, if you want to get rid of your earplug right now, here are your options:
You can unblock your ear yourself by doing the following:
The first instinct of a person who finds themselves in this situation is removing the earwax plug themselves. That is not a bad idea in and of itself, especially in these times of lockdown. However, you have to be very careful how to do this.
It is essential not to use cotton swabs (Q-Tips) because the risks of pushing the earwax even further are too high, as are the dangers of irritating and injuring your ear canal.
Using a cotton swab to unclog ears
Unscented oil (e.g., olive oil, mineral oil, almond oil) or specialized product sold in pharmacies
You have to follow the procedure twice a day for a maximum of one week
Tilt your head so that the blocked ear is facing the ceiling;
Using a dropper if possible, pour 3-4 drops of unscented oil into your ear;
Gently straighten your head to allow the oil to penetrate as far as possible into your ear canal;
Pull the pinna of your ear (upper outer part) upwards to straighten your ear canal;
Tilt your head again and hold this position for 5-10 minutes to allow the oil to flow by gravity into your ear canal;
Lightly massage the back of the ear.
Do you wear a hearing aid?
If you wear a hearing aid, you should remove your hearing aid before pouring the oil into your ear and wait several hours before putting your appliance back on. Thus, it is advisable to limit the treatment to once a day, at bedtime.
If you want to do another treatment in the morning, you will have to put your device back in the early afternoon only. The oil will clog the device filter and could damage your earpiece.
By following this recommendation twice, a day, the earwax plug should loosen on its own. If you don’t see improvement after a week, you need to see a professional.
How to prevent wax plugs from forming?
The appearance of wax plugs depends on biological and behavioral factors.
People who naturally produce a lot of earwax or have a lot of hair in the outer ear canals are more prone to plugged earwax and have their ears blocked.
It is also the case for people who wear hearing aids or who frequently use earplugs.
Likewise, those who don’t dry their ears well after getting out of the shower, bath, or pool are more likely to get wax plugs.
Drying your ears thoroughly after getting out of the shower or bath with a washcloth is, therefore, the best way to prevent the appearance of earwax plugs. It is also not recommended to clean the ears with cotton swabs (Q-Tips) or insert any other object – even a washcloth – inside the ear canal at the risk of damaging it.
Causes of unclog ears
In some cases, when earwax is no longer naturally removed from the ear canal, it can lead to plugging. That can happen:
- When earwax production is abnormally high.
- When the natural elimination of earwax to the outside is disturbed
There are several causes of earwax plug formation:
- Too much use of cotton swabs: in fact, cotton swabs tamp the earwax at the bottom of the ear, which causes a more excellent earwax production. It is then recommended to use the cotton swabs approximately every ten days and only clean the ear canal entrance.
- Regular use of earplugs or wearing a hearing aid can also promote earwax production.
- A dusty environment can also increase the production of earwax.
- Small diameter or an unusual shape of the ear canal and too much hair in the ear can prevent earwax’s natural discharge out of the ear canal.
- Water (swimming, showering, etc.) tends to swell earwax and therefore block its natural drainage.
- Some people are more prone to more earwax secretion than others. Sometimes earwax production can also increase with age.
FAQ of how to unclog ears
- How to remove a plugin the ear with a pear?
Fill the pear with lukewarm water, insert it into the outer ear canal without pushing too far in, gently press on the pear to release the liquid, and remove it by tilting your head to let it flow. Repeat the operation a few times. If the blockage persists, consult a doctor.
- How do you know if the cap is hard or soft?
After the ear bath, soft plugs remove the earwax using an ear bulb containing lukewarm water. Hard pins: Earwax deposits harden after a few months, and they usually need to be removed by a doctor.
- What’s the best way to clean the ears?
Soapy water is the easiest and cheapest way to clean the ear canal safely. When taking a shower or bath with the jet from the showerhead, all you have to do is put the water in your ear.
- What medicine for the blocked ear?
Unlike otitis externa, it is accompanied by fever. In both cases, the diagnosis should be made by a doctor by otoscopy. While waiting for the doctor’s consultation, it is possible to relieve ear pain by taking paracetamol up to 4 grams per day.
- How to clean pierced ear eardrum?
You can also apply heat to relieve discomfort or, sometimes, put a patch on the eardrum to speed healing. During this period, a healthy ear should be kept clean and dry.
- How to unblock your eustachian tube?
Hold the handkerchief between thumb and forefinger, covering the nose. Plug one nostril with the index finger and empty the other by blowing very hard. cover the other nostril with your thumb and empty the free nostril.
- How do you know if you have an earwax plug?
The formation of an earwax plug is not always apparent. However, some signs can help you spot this situation:
- A relatively significant loss of hearing.
- A feeling of blocked ears often accentuated after a bath or a shower.
- Irritation or even pain in the ear canal.
- A feeling of dizziness.
- Sometimes buzzing and whistling in the ear appears.
These signs may be the same as those for other ear conditions. It is therefore recommended to consult a doctor. In most cases, the earwax plug is not severe. However, if not adequately treated, it can help the formation of otitis externa or prevent its extraction.
- What to do when you have an earwax plug?
An important option is to use a physiological saline solution or a specifically adapted ear solution that softens or even dissolves the earwax plug. Warning: it is strongly advised not to introduce liquid into an ear canal with a perforated eardrum. That can cause a risk of severe infection, which can lead to irreversible hearing loss.
In the event of an earwax plug, it highly recommended not to use a cotton swab, sharp object, or water jet that could damage the ear canal or eardrum. You should not use ear candles also, which can cause a significant risk of burns to the ear walls.
However, it is necessary to consult a doctor in the following cases:
- When a child has embedded an object or a foreign body in their ear
- Hearing problems persist despite the extraction of the earwax plug.
- Pain or irritation persists in the ear canal.
- If it is no longer possible to easily remove the earwax plug
- When a clear, purulent fluid or bleeding comes out of your ear.
- Don’t use cotton buds to remove a wax plug.
- Learn about promising practices before trying to unblock your ear
- Sweetness and patience are your best allies.
- Do not hesitate to consult a professional if your attempts remain unsuccessful.
- If you have a particular medical condition or are under the care of a doctor, do not try to treat yourself.
- Drying your ears is the best way to prevent plugging.
- Dry the ears well to avoid blocked ears.
Here! I hope that this information will allow you better to understand the role of earwax, this unloved one, and to adopt behaviors that will protect your ear, and above all, your hearing!
For anyone wondering what happened to my friend Guy’s earplug, well, it disappeared on its own after a few days of home treatment.
Conclusion of how to unclog ears
See a professional if you are uncomfortable or the treatment is not working. The most accessible resource for unblocking an ear blocked by an earwax plug is a CLSC meeting with a nurse. If a cerumen plug is related to a medical condition, the otolaryngologist (ENT) will be the recommended professional to remove the wax plug. You can first ask one of its professionals for advice.