Has your hearing become muffled? Fortunately, in many cases, it may have nothing to do with your actual hearing ability. Often it is simply due to a clogged ear, which refers to a blockage in the ear canal.
Symptoms of a clogged ear include reduced hearing capacity, a popping sensation in your ear, a windy sound inside the ear, and a feeling of having mucus or liquid within the ear.
You can get a clogged ear when the Eustachian tube does not open and close properly to regulate and equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the pressure in the atmosphere outside the ear.
Common factors that can cause clogged ears are wax buildup, air flow blockage to the Eustachian tubes, pressure differences in the middle ear, and cold and sinus problems. Clogged ears can affect people of all ages, but is most common among children, especially when they have colds.
You can easily get rid of clogged ears by performing the Valsalva maneuver. It will relieve stuffiness and pain in the ear.
- Close your mouth and pinch your nostrils closed with your fingers, then take a deep breath.
- Blow air out of your nose to regulate the air pressure. If done correctly, you will hear a slight popping sound which means the Eustachian tubes are open again.
Flushing with warm water will also help open up a clogged ear.
- Fill an ear syringe with a cup of warm water.
- Tilt your head to the side as much as you can and pull your ear lobe down to open up the ear canal.
- Insert the tip of the syringe into the ear opening. Point the syringe slightly up and sideways and squeeze the bulb of the syringe to force the water into your ear canal. The gentle force of the water will dislodge the wax.
- Wait for about 10 minutes and then tilt your head to the other side. The water and earwax will come out easily.
Yawning is another easy way to deal with clogged ears. The act of yawning decreases air pressure in the ear and helps activate the muscles that open the Eustachian tubes.
- Open your mouth slightly and attempt to yawn until you feel a slight pop inside the air.
- Repeat if the first yawn did not bring relief or until you start hearing more clearly.
Gargling with a hot salt water solution can help unclog the ears and also ease nasal congestion that may be contributing to the problem.
- Mix one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water.
- Gargle with this solution for 15 to 30 seconds and spit it out.
- Do this repeatedly until you get relief from the clogged ear.
If clogged ears are due to a sudden change in air pressure, like what happens during an airplane landing or take off, try chewing gum. This will open up your Eustachian tubes, relieving the excess pressure in your ears and opening up clogged ears.
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