How to Unclog an Ear from Head Cold

Updated on August 12, 2013
M.S. asks from Troutdale, OR
12 answers

Hi ladies and gentlemen,
I am coming to you for help since the doctor said to wait until Monday and come back if its not better. So here's the problem: I have had a clogged ear since Sunday. We all have head colds and mine settled in my ear. The doctor thinks it is a virus, but she did give me Sudafed (the real stuff) by prescription since we have to have one in Oregon. I only went because I had run out of sudafed and she said I had to come in to get more, but I have been on it since the weekend, so I am disappointed when she told me to just keep letting it work when I talked to her a few minutes ago on the phone.

I am so tired of not being able to hear and since my tube is clogged, I am super dizzy. I went to wikihow for how to unclog an ear and I did every single thing on the list. I have used a neti pot, saline spray, hot shower, cool shower, hot water in the ear, creating a vacuum, blowing hot smoke in it, plugging the ear with a finger, tipping to one side and hopping to break the seal, a menthol inhaler, ibuprofen, none of it is working. I am coming to you for help, anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks in advance for any help you might have. I am going crazy with feeling like I am going to fall over, and it doesn't help that my blood pressure has dropped too, I think its from the cold too.

ETA: It is NOT wax, it is congestion in the Eustachian Tubes. Thanks again!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for you advice everyone! I finally ended up at urgent care on Sunday because it had started shooting pain in the ears. I didn't have an infection, just water behind the ears. So, he gave me Prednisone for 6 days. My ears are getting better, but boy am I tired since I can't sleep on the steroids.

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answers from Portland on

I had the same problem before. When the sudafed didn't work, the Dr finally prescribed steroids to help with the inflammation. It took about 5 more days, but I was finally able to hear. I have been down the wait and see if Sudafed works, but if it hasn't done the job in a week, I don't think it will. Good luck!

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answers from Sacramento on

I think your stuffiness is probably coming from inside your ear, under the eardrum. Putting anything into your ear is't going to help and could cause you more problems.

I think you're on the verge of (or already have) an ear infection. I had a cold "settle in my ear" when I was 12. Long story but the infection ended up rupturing my eardrum. It's something I deal with to this day.

Call the doctor's office before they close and ask if you should be on antibiotics.



answers from Chattanooga on

Have you tried candling it? I can't remember the exact method, but I know Walmart has kits for it. Somehow, it is supposed to draw the wax from inside your ear... The process of doing that may help you out.

My step-mom used to pour hydrogen peroxide in our ear, and have us lay on our side for about five minutes while it bubbled. I'm not sure if that's something you are *supposed* to do... But none of us ever suffered ill effects from it.

Other than that, maybe one of those electric ear cleaners. They are at Walmart as well, in the "as seen on TV" area.



answers from Raleigh on

I always use 3% hydrogen peroxide in my ear when I suspect any kind of inflammation or infection. I grew up doing this, and still do it to this day. I use one of the kid's old medicine droppers, lay on my side, and put a few drops in. If there's an issue, the mad bubbling will start in a minute or two. After about 5-10 minutes, I drain it. Don't do this is you suspect your ear drum is perforated or if it's draining.
I get ear infections and inflammation all the time due to my deviated septum that I am still waiting to have corrected. The peroxide is a big help. (And it clears out any pesky ear wax at the same time).


answers from Norfolk on

Try sleeping with your ear on a heating pad on low.
Breathing in steam helps me if I breathe it in long enough.
This thing makes it easy (and it's safer than sitting over a pot of hot water with a towel over your head):

Search on Amazon using 'steam inhaler' - there are other models.

A neti pot using warm saline also helps me.
Sorry it's not working for you.

Putting anything into your ear won't help - your ear drum is in the way and you don't want to rupture it.


I've found out through experience that after awhile a decongestant does NOT help and will make things worse.
It will dry the fluid out making it sticky and harder to clear from your eustachian tube(s) - it has to flow in order for it to clear the tubes.
To thin the fluid out, drink lots of water (and/or tea) and try an expectorant like Mucinex.
More fluid in you will also help with your drop in blood pressure.
I hope you feel better soon.



answers from Houston on

Hold both sides of your nose tight and blow out nose gently but steadily, as if you are blowing your nose in a kleenex.



answers from Appleton on

I may not be yur ear but a sinus infection. Your sinuses behind your ear may be so clogged they are closing off your ear.

Try drinking a pot at least 8 cups of chamomile tea, you will pee a lot. Drink that amount tonight and again tomorrow. You may then experience the infection breaking up and start blowing your nose and getting a lot of puss with it. If it doesn't work drink more tea. It takes time but it works.



answers from Washington DC on

Don't bother with candling or the other things you're trying. This congestion is inside the ear and caused by the cold and no amount of steaming or candling or hot water is going to unplug it.

Sudafed can take a while to work. Did you tell the doc that the congestion in the ear is that bad? I agree with the person who said you may be on the road to an ear infection. Ear infections are secondary infections to colds much of the time; the mucus stuck in the ear gets infected as it sits there. Get checked for an ear infection because only an antibiotic is going to clear one up.



answers from Jacksonville on

Nasal spray...also massaging the eustachian tube- run your fingers from behind your ear to down under your jaw using very firm pressure. Mine were clogged for 2 weeks and that, combined with spray was the only thing that worked tor me!



answers from St. Louis on

Oh man....I just had a bout of this very problem last month and it was a doozy! I went scuba diving in Florida and got some water stuck in my ear. Then I became congested and got some kind of whacky upper respiratory virus that caused a lot of ear pressure, congestion, and there was clear fluid behind my eardrums. My ears were popping and muffled for weeks! It was terrible! They weren't infected, it was just congestion. I was given a fairly strong dose of prescription pseudoephedrine and my doctor told me to keep taking my Zyrtec with it to help dry up the fluid. I had to use Advil or Aleve for the pain because it hurt when I swallowed. Other than this, we just watched the fluid to make sure there was no infection and it slowly dried up and everything went back to normal. I had never experienced this before and boy was it annoying and took three weeks to get rid of. I hope you feel better soon but just be patient. Like Leigh R. said below, this is all you can do....nothing else is going to clear it up but antihistamines and decongestants. Watch for infection and just will go away. Feel better!



answers from Oklahoma City on

Google home remedies for ear ache. There is one of the remedies that talks about blowing the warm air of a hair dryer into your ear. The heat softens the goo and it helps it to get unclogged and draining.

Another remedy is to use a vibrator...any kind...and run it gently over the sinus areas and in front of the ears, behind the ears, over your head on your scalp, on your nose...all over anywhere there is a sinus or drainage tube.

This helps the goo that has solidified and gets it unstuck from the tubes.

The Sudafed should be helping this. If it's not then it might be something else going on. Sudafed gets moisture for the mucus membranes from your body. If you are even slightly dehydrated the Sudafed is drawing it's moisture "from" the mucus instead of add moisture to the mix.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Did you try a decongestant nasal spray like Afrin? That usually works for me, and as long as you don't use it for more than a few days in a row, there is no down side to it.

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