Erin MacMullen quote and image - blog feature

Five Ways to Unclog Your Blocked Ears (Pros & Cons)

04/15/2022 | Patient Resources

If your ears feel blocked or clogged up, then the likelihood is that it’s due to a buildup (impaction) of earwax.

Earwax is a natural substance that your body produces to trap unwelcome dirt and dust. It has protective properties that prevent bacteria from reaching the inner ear and prevents the growth of certain bacteria and fungi that can lead to ear infections.

It’s your friend but is often treated as the enemy!

When you have an over-accumulation of earwax (too much) or impacted earwax, then it can cause many challenges, including a temporary or a sudden hearing loss, a feeling of fullness in your ear, dizziness, headaches, balance issues, and ear pain.

The causes of impacted earwax can vary, but the most common reason is using cotton swabs to attempt to “clean” your ears. This only leads to the wax being pushed deeper into your ear canal, leading to a buildup or blockage.

We often find that patients visit us when they are concerned that they have a hearing loss, only to discover that the actual reason for their reduced level of hearing is due to a buildup of earwax, and a professional clean is required.

SIDE NOTE: This is why over-the-counter hearing aids that don’t require a hearing test or simple hearing screenings where a hearing professional doesn’t look into your ears are so dangerous and have thousands of people needlessly investing in hearing aids.

If you go online to explore ways to unblock your ears or remove earwax, there’s no shortage of options and advice. The problem is, some of the home remedies that are available and recommended are incredibly dangerous, while others are just weird and a waste of time.

In this article, we’re going to explore the five most common ways to unclog your blocked ears and remove earwax, with the pros and cons of each.

#1 – Over-the-Counter Ear Drops

Any form of an over-the-counter product usually has its place for very mild cases, and ear drops are no different.

They’re recommended for people with a “small amount of earwax,” which is very difficult to self-diagnose, as none of us really know how much wax is too much or not enough.

But as a general rule of thumb, if you feel that you have a buildup of earwax or blocked ears, then you’ve likely gone beyond the level of having a “small amount of earwax.”

The question is whether you want to try this DIY approach first to see if it makes the difference that you’re looking for before consulting a professional.

With over-the-counter ear drops available for around $10.00 – they’re low-priced and can make an impact for very small buildups of earwax.

#2 – Use Candles in Your Ears

Believe it or not, using candles as a solution to unclog your ears is crazily an approach that is often spoken about online.

However, this is incredibly dangerous.

Not only will you likely burn your face, but drips of hot wax into your ears will also cause damage and likely result in much worse problems.

Please do not entertain this approach under any circumstances.


#3 – Pick Out The Wax Using A Cotton Swab

An approach that many people initially do is look to use a Q-tip or cotton swab to try to remove their own earwax.

Stick it in, give it a wriggle, and hope for the best!

The problem is, this is often the reason for the buildup of earwax, as a cotton swab often leads to wax being pushed deeper into your ear canal, and if you go too deep with the cotton swab, it can lead to more serious damage.

We advise our children not to stick stuff into their ears, and the advice should very much be respected by all of us!


#4 – Use Olive Oil in Your Ears

Using olive oil for earwax has been an approach that has been used for many years, and it’s generally safe to use in small quantities.

The olive oil will soften the impacted wax causing the hearing loss, and with consistency over several days, it will result in the earwax unclogging and falling out of your ear.

There are many low-cost, over-the-counter olive oils available for this exact reason, and it’s a very straightforward approach.

However, it does come with a warning.

If you have a ruptured eardrum or any history of allergies toward olive oil, then you should avoid this approach, as it could lead to further complications.

Similar to the over-the-counter eardrops, if you have a very mild buildup of earwax and you’re happy to take a slow approach to find a solution, then olive oil is a great potential option for you.

#5 – Visit An Audiologist

The final approach is also the approach that is the most recommended and safest option, and that’s to visit an audiologist.

If you’re experiencing signs of blocked ears, then it’s likely that you’ve passed the window where the other common at-home approaches will be effective for you, and you’ll require the attention of a specialist.

By utilizing professional equipment, a doctor will be able to look into your ears using a video otoscope to see exactly what you’re dealing with and then use the Earigator to gently flush out the compacted wax.

How We Use The Earigator To Remove Wax

At Duncan Hearing Healthcare, we believe in using the safest and most effective methods for earwax removal to ensure our patients have a pleasant experience with us and leave their appointment with better hearing and ear health.

The Earigator is an advanced solution that provides a pain-free and comfortable earwax removal procedure. The core technique used by the Earigator is reflected in its name – irrigation.

Irrigation is a process that uses regulated water and pressure to flush out fluid or debris, which is why it’s considered extremely safe, risk-free, and non-invasive. The Earigator heats the water up to body temperature and self-controls the temperature throughout use, to ensure the water doesn’t cause unpleasant vertigo effects which can occur with water that isn’t correctly regulated.

Removing earwax using the Earigator typically takes between three to five minutes, meaning you can get back to hearing the life you love in no time.

It also means that if there are any additional reasons for your blocked ears, they can be professionally dealt with and addressed to ensure your long-term hearing health is not compromised.


Earwax Removal Experts In Fall River & Dartmouth

If you’re looking for a team of doctors of audiology to help, then the team at Duncan Hearing Healthcare has helped thousands of ears over many years, and they have helped hundreds of people in your exact situation.

With offices in Dartmouth and Fall River, we’re regularly visited by people based in Acushnet, Fairhaven, Westport, New Bedford, Wareham, Tiverton (RI), Little Compton (RI), Providence (RI), Brockton, Bridgewater, Dighton, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Swansea, Attleboro, Taunton, Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Dennis, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee Sandwich, and Yarmouth.

To ask a question or schedule an appointment, then please click here for full information and to find the contact information for your local office.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Erin MacMullen

Since 2001, Erin MacMullen has provided patient care in the state of Massachusetts as a clinical and dispensing audiologist. Her B.A. in communication disorders came from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and she earned her master of science degree in audiology in 2001. She holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA). Following graduation, Erin has worked in several settings, including private practice, ENT (ear nose and throat) facilities, nursing homes, assisted living residences, and as a consultant for public school systems in the area. Her diverse experiences provide Erin with a special combination of skills that include the ability to diagnose and treat hearing impairments among a large range of individuals, from pediatric through geriatric populations.

    Request a Callback

    Would you like to speak to one of our hearing care professionals to discuss your hearing health challenges? Then simply complete this form and we’ll call you back.

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.