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How to unclog ears

Insights and tips
Jun, 28, 2024

Understanding the discomfort of plugged ears

Have you ever experienced the discomfort of ears feeling plugged?

It is a common issue that can be quite bothersome, disrupting your daily life and even affecting your hearing. Whether caused by earwax accumulation, sinus infections, or Eustachian tube dysfunction, this issue can lead to discomfort and impaired hearing. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the medical perspectives on plugged ears, exploring effective treatments and preventative measures.

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How to treat plugged ears

Earwax removal

Professional ear cleaning methods include microsuction, where a gentle vacuum is used to remove earwax, and irrigation, where water is used to flush out the wax. These methods are safe and effective, reducing the risk of injury compared to DIY approaches.

Treating infections

Ear infections are commonly treated with antibiotics to eliminate bacteria and decongestants to reduce swelling. It's crucial to follow the prescribed treatment regimen to ensure complete recovery and prevent recurrence.

Addressing Eustachian Tube dysfunction

Treatment for Eustachian tube dysfunction may involve using nasal sprays or antihistamines to reduce inflammation and open the tube. In chronic cases, surgical interventions such as inserting ventilation tubes may be necessary to ensure proper ear drainage and pressure regulation.

Home remedies

  • Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam can help open the Eustachian tubes and relieve pressure. Simply boil water, pour it into a bowl, and breathe in the steam with a towel over your head.
  • Warm compresses: Applying a warm cloth to the affected ear can help reduce discomfort and encourage drainage.
  • Over-the-Counter solutions: Ear drops for clogged ears can help soften earwax and facilitate its removal. Nasal decongestants can also alleviate pressure in the Eustachian tubes.

How to prevent plugged ears

Daily habits for ear health

Maintain regular ear hygiene by gently cleaning the outer ear with a washcloth. Avoid inserting objects into the ear canal. Stay hydrated and manage allergies to prevent mucus buildup.

Travel tips

During air travel or altitude changes, chew gum, yawn, or swallow frequently to help equalise ear pressure. Using specialised earplugs designed for air travel can also help prevent ear clogging.

FAQs on clogged ears

How long do clogged ears typically last?

The duration varies depending on the cause, but most cases resolve within a few days to a week.

Can clogged ears affect hearing permanently?

While most cases are temporary, prolonged blockage without treatment can lead to complications. Seek medical advice if symptoms persist.

When should I be concerned about clogged ears?

If you experience severe pain, sudden hearing loss, or symptoms lasting more than a week, consult a healthcare professional.

When to see a doctor

If you experience persistent clogged ears, severe pain, or hearing loss, it's important to seek medical attention. Symptoms that last more than a few days or are accompanied by fever or discharge may indicate a more serious condition that requires professional evaluation.
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