How to Unclog Ears in 5 Simple Ways

Updated in January 2022

The sensation of pressure in the ear is relatively common and it typically happens with changes in atmospheric pressure, which can occur when traveling by plane or hiking up a mountain.

Although it can be very uncomfortable, most of the time, this pressure is not dangerous and resolves within a few minutes. Nonetheless, there are some ways you can unclog your years quickly to relieve any discomfort you may be having.

Regardless of the method you choose to try, you should try these methods with caution, as the ear is a very delicate structure, If your discomfort does not improve, if it worsens, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms like intense pain or pus-like discharge, you should consult a doctor for assessment and treatment as indicated.

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1. Yawn a few times

Yawning can help with air movement within the ear canals, which can correct any pressure imbalances and unclog the ears.

All you need to do to stimulate a yawn is to imitate the mouth movements and look up to the ceiling. It is normal to hear a small crack within the ear, which means the ear is stretching. You can try this several times over a few minutes if it doesn't work.

If you have difficulty yawning or stimulating a yawn, another good way to unclog your ears is to simply open your mouth as wide as possible and breathe through your mouth, inhaling and exhaling with your mouth wide open.

2. Chew gum

Chewing gum forces many muscles in the face to move, which can balance out any pressure changes inside the ear canal.

This method is very simple and and be used not only to unclog already-blocked ears, but to prevent any pressure changes that can occur during a plane trip.

3. Drinking water

Drinking water is another way to move your facial muscles to resolve pressure changes within the ear.

You should place water in your mouth and hold it, then plug your nose and lean your head back. The movement of muscles combined with the lack of air through the nose will change the pressure within the inner ear, which will help with unclogging your ears.

4. Holding your breath

Another way of opening your ear canals and to correct pressure changes it to take a deep breath, pinch your nose, and try to expel air through your nose while keeping it pinched shut. 

5. Applying a warm compress

This method works best when the ear pressure is caused by the flu or allergies, but it can also be attempted in other situations. All you have to do it apply a warm compress over the ear for 2 to 3 minutes.

The heat of the compress helps to dilate the ear canals, which allows for drainage and correction of pressure changes. 

How to unclog ears with wax

To unblock ears that are clogged with ear wax, you should allow water to trickle inside the ear while showering and allow the water to run out. Then clean the outer ear with a clean towel. You should avoid the use of q-tips, as they can push wax further into the ear and increase your risk for infection.

If this method is used 3 times and you continue to feel your ear is blocked, you should see your doctor for ear syringing.

When to see your doctor

Although most times, pressure in the ear can be resolved at home, there are some cases which require evaluation by a doctor. You should see a doctor or proceed to the hospital when:

  • The pressure sensation does not improve within a few hours, or if it progressively worsen over time
  • You also have a fever
  • You have other symptoms like intense pain or pus-like discharge

In these cases, the discomfort can be a result of an ear infection or rupture of the eardrum, and therefore it is very important to seek medical attention.