Clogged Ears--Please Help!

Does anyone have a cure for clogged ears? I caught a cold last week, and though most of the general cold annoyances are gone, my left ear is severely clogged. Any help is genuinely appreciated, as I haven’t felt quite human since Tuesday evening.

1)** DON’T USE A QTIP.** That will just pack it in.

  1. There’s a kit you can buy at drugstores. First, you drip stuff (Carbamide Peroxide) into the ear, and it bubbles and softens the wax. Then you use the rubber bulb to irrigate the ear, flushing out the wax.

Well, whenever I get an ear infection I mix 3% hydrogen peroxide (the kind you get at the store) with equal parts water and rinse my ear out with it. Pour it in, let it sit until the hyper-bubbling dies down, repeat a few hours later.

Combine that with warm moistness…like, oh, holding your ear over a cup of staming hot water. When I go to sleep, as I’m laying there, I’ll also lay on a hot-enough-to-stand washcloth.

I’ve beaten every infected ear in a weekend like this.

BUT, if it isn’t an infection, just clogged from a cold, I think the peroxide would be unnecessary. I would still recommend seeing a doctor. Infections that move “into” the body like that can be troubling.

I thought I’d add, like a cup of tea. Just hold it there when you aren’t driking it.

It could be nothing more than wax, in which case use Revtim’s method. If it is an infection, you can try Aynrandlover’s. What I’ve always used for “swimmer’s ears,” which is a mild case of external otitis, is apple cider vinegar and isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol kills the virus and the vinegar maintains an acidic environment which is unhealthy for the virus. I mix them together and squeeze it into my ears with a syringe.

Since you had a cold, (IANAMD) it could be just congestion, but more likely it is aggravated by excess wax.

Well first you have to find out if you have a wax or other foreign body obstruction between the ear drum and the outer ear. Best way, have someone who knows what they’re looking at (like a doctor) look in with an otoscope. If it is wax, it can be flushed or dug or softened out.

Because your symptoms could also be due to pressure changes in the middle ear, behind the drum, most commonly associated with colds and allergies. The eustachian tubes, which equalize pressure between the middle ear and the back of the soft palate, get swollen by virus or allergies, and you get a pressure differential in your middle ear, causing fullness, popping, or sometimes even pain. This can be helped with sudafed, and steam, lots of it, along with pinching your nose shut, holding your mouth shut, and gently inhaling or exhaling until the ears pop, or until it doesn’t work.

Of course you could also have fluid behind the eardrum too, associated with virus or allergies or even a bacterial infection.

Bottom line: Let someone who knows what they’re doing check your ears and suggest a proper therapy. If you’ve been down that road before and know this always happens when you get a cold, I’d recommend the meds and procedures outlined above, ie sudafed and steam.

Qadgop, MD

Those earwax removal kits probably won’t help you much since the “plugged-up” feeling usually comes from inside the eardrum, not outside.

Sudafed will help. If you’re in pain, you might try a nasal spray, although do be careful since they can be very habit forming due to rebound effect. (For that reason I keep them as a last resort only. They’re great, though, if you have to take a plane, or if you live/work in a high-rise.)

I’d love to hear what an MD would have to say about the peroxdide technique. I guess the theory is that a little of it drips past the eardrum into any infection (?), which makes sense but I’d want to make sure the peroxide wouldn’t cause problems in the inner ear.

This happens to me every time I get even a mild allergy attack - my ears clog up and hearing becomes difficult. A pharmacist friend of mine suggested Congestac - two pills the first time, then as directed on the box. Works every time for me. Good luck.

Qadgop: Will DayQuil work instead of Sudafed? I’m almost certain that it isn’t wax–I keep my ears fairly clean. I also tried pinching my nose, too, with little success…the pressure in the ear does change, but never pops. I’m afraid that if I keep doing that I’ll blow my brains out. :slight_smile:

I’m trying everyone’s suggestions so far… Thanks, all. :slight_smile:

If it helps, the last time I got a build-up of wax in my ear, my doctor flushed it out for me. (I didn’t go just for the ear-flushing - I had a cold too) He used a strong jet of water, and it was slightly uncomfortable, but I could feel the wax dissolve almost instantly. So if you’re desperate and/or lazy, this might be an option.

Well, you should see a doctor. You need to find out why your ears feel congested. If there’s fluid inside the doctor can give you the proper medicine to clear that up.

You can also buy cough syrup that has guiafenesin as it’s only active ingredient and try that. Guai is a mucous thinner, and it may be able to clear up your problem.

If it’s just ear wax clogging your ear, there are loads of different over the counter remedies from pharmacists, or you could try dropping a few drops of warm olive oil (not extra virgin olive oil because it’s got bits in it) into your ear - it will soften the wax.

Once, long ago, one of my ears just wouldn’t pop, rather like yours…it happened when I went to Denver, and the darn thing just wouldn’t change its pressure. Lasted for days. I finally got it to pop by standing in the shower for a good while, letting hot water run into my ear, then doing the “hold your nose and blow” trick. What a relief that was…

I have the same deal, Gambit. I’m just prone to ear infections and clogged inner ears, and sinuses, in general (this has nothing at all to do with wax, folks…).

The last time I had a major viral infection and went to the doctor, he said it was probably due to the internal structure of my head…passages a bit too narrow, adenoids a bit too large…chronic bummer.

Ways to get the ear unclogged:

  • steam (hot shower, hot drinks)
  • sudafed
  • sleep on your other side. Seriously. Sleep so that the clogged ear is up. Sometimes, it will drain out.

If you got a nice friend with steady hands, they can look into your ear & see if it’s something they can take out.

I really cannot stress enough that when you have a medical problem, you should talk to a professional. The denizens of the SDMB are amazingly well-informed about a variety of topics, but none of them has the ability to do an ear examination and find out exactly what the problem is. It could be excessive ear wax, or it could be a nasty infection. If it is the latter, you will probably need antibiotics.

Go see a doctor.

(I am not a person who advocates the use of antibiotics for every little problem that pops up, but when you need them, you need them.)

anything with pseudoephedrine in it may help congestion. I believe this includes dayquil. It’s still not a bad idea to have someone look in your ear.

BTW,xtnjohnson, peroxide is used for its effervescent action to help break up earwax clumps. unless you have a perforation in the eardrum, it won’t reach either the middle or inner ear. But physical contact with the drum can cause dizziness.

Qadgop, MD

Two years ago I had a severe bout with the flu and was in bed for a week. Every time I tried to get up, I would get vertigo. I had to stumble to the bathroom and hardly ate at all. So, after several days with the vertigo, I, in desperation, squirted my swimmer’s ear concoction (isopropyl alcohol and apple cider vinegar) into my ears. Within minutes, my vertigo disappeared.

Now, Qadgop, that may be coincidence. Or it may not. Isn’t it at all possible for the solution to permeate into the labryinth?

When I was well enough to see a doctor (I couldn’t see him before - I was too sick) I told him about it. His jaw dropped to the floor. He was rendered speechless.

I often have the same problem. Benadryl works real well. The bottle I have recommends 1 or 2 for adults. Take two before you go to bed. Also, try stretching your neck on the affected side, while trying to pop you ear. This usually helps open the eustachian tube for me.

IANAD, but I think Benadryl will help only if your congestion is caused by allergies. It’s an antihistamine (and a drowsy-causing one at that), with no independent properties that would help nasal stuffiness, unless its formulation includes pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). (That’s the “D” in Tavist-D - plain Tavist in just antihistamine, and the “D” adds sudafed.)

For me, stuffiness can result from a combination of factors (allergies causing swelling, which then blocks drainage, with the mucus then becoming infected) so antihistamine can be part of the process, but it’s usually not enough by itself.

My but this post is appetizing.