How Do You Clear A Blocked Ear?

How Do You Clear A Blocked Ear?

Having a blocked ear can be one of the most frustrating things you experience in your life. It can be itchy, painful, make you feel disoriented or dizzy, and cause hearing loss and tinnitus. People say you should use olive oil drops and just keep using them until the blocked ear clears itself, but half the time it makes the blockage even worse, so what's the best thing to do?

Read on to find out more about how to clear a blocked ear, including what you can do at home to help clear a blocked ear.

Video: How To Clear A Blocked Ear

In the above video, you will find out about different ways to clear a blocked ear, including microsuction ear wax removal and manual instrument ear wax removal, as well as hear from people who have had their blocked ears cleared. Since Coronavirus, we are covered from head to foot in PPE, but the techniques demonstrated remain essentially the same.

Different Methods To Clear A Blocked Ear

There are many way to clear a blocked ear, including ear drops, ear sprays, irrigation (syringing), microsuction and manual instruments. We won't even mention ear candles, which are a dangerous scam. Here is the run down on different methods for clearing blocked ears:

Ear Drops

There are all kinds of ear drops. Some are oil based, some are water-based, and some contain chemicals like peroxide which can cause pain and irritation. They all suffer from the same unwanted potential side-effect, which is that you have to put your head on a side for the drops to go in, and then gravity and the shape of the ear canal combine to funnel the softened ear wax deeper into the canal where it gets narrower and narrower making the blockage even worse. That being said, we do recommend softening ear wax before an earwax removal procedure. For an in-depth read about the different kinds of ear drops you can use, check out my article on how to soften ear wax fast.

Ear Sprays

Ear sprays have the advantage over ear drops in that you don't need to put your head on a side, and they are much, much easier to apply. If you compare, say, pharmacy-grade olive oil, with Earol® sterile, pharmacy-grade olive oil spray, the Earol® wins, because you can easily apply Earol® yourself; you apply it with your head upright, which encourages the ear wax to come out; the spray creates tiny droplets, which get into all the nooks and crannies and penetrate the wax and soften it more quickly. An added plus is that Earol®, being a sealed spray unit, can be used for up to 6 months after first use, while ear drops should be discarded 28 days after opening. Find out more about ear sprays in our article on methods of ear wax removal.

Irrigation / Syringing

Ear syringing was written about by the Ancient Greeks, so it has been around for a long time. Until safer methods came along, it really was the only proper way to clear a blocked ear. However, due to safety concerns, the electric irrigator pump replaced the ear syringe as the fluid pressure can be better regulated. However, there can still be complications such as dizziness, ear infections, hearing loss and tinnitus, as well as injuries such as bruising, bleeding, rupture of the eardrum or damage of the facial nerve. Although most irrigation procedures go smoothly, the chances of a serious complication have led the NHS to largely withdraw ear irrigation services. Since microsuction is far safer, we recommend microsuction ear wax removal in preference to irrigation.

Read on for more ways to clear a blocked ear.