5 Reasons why your ears feel clogged

Ears may feel blocked or clogged sometimes, and while it may not be painful, it can be unpleasant. Clogged ears may affect your hearing ability, and sounds may feel muffled. They can be due to high altitude or sometimes can be a critical medical concern that requires a consultation from an ENT Specialist in Karachi. They may resolve in some time or may last for days, depending on the cause. Clogged ears with other symptoms can signal allergy or infection. Knowing the reason behind it can help with the appropriate resolution or treatment.

Causes of clogged ears

1.  Earwax

Earwax is the natural way to shield your ears from external pollutants. It is usually sticky and traps dirt and debris from entering your ear. It acts as a self-cleaning agent for the ears. Sometimes the hardening of earwax buildup can lead to clogging or wards. It can also cause other symptoms, such as ear pain, ringing in the ear, itching, and hearing loss. Cleaning your ears with a cotton swab or other foreign objects is unsafe as it can push the earwax further inside your ear and even harm your eardrum. Consult the Best ENT Specialist in Lahore to get your ear cleaned.

2.  Respiratory problems

The Eustachian tube is a narrow passageway that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. It is responsible for ventilating your ear and keeping it free of mucus while balancing the air pressure. A sinus infection, flu, allergy, or other respiratory infection, may result in inflammation of this tube. Swelling in the Eustachian tube can trap mucus and cause an ear blockage, also known as Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). Children, smokers, and obese people are at higher risk for this problem. Clearing the tube is vital to prevent an ear infection.

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3.  Altitude changes

Changes in altitude are a common cause of clogged ears. You may notice your ear blockage when you travel to the mountains or during an airplane takeoff or landing. It occurs due to the change in altitude as the air pressure changes very quickly and causes plugged ears. Altitude changes mostly cause ear blockages. Clogged ears with other symptoms such as dizziness, pain, or hearing loss are known as airplane ear or barotrauma. In this case, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

4.  Swimmer’s ear

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa, is an outer ear canal infection. It occurs when the water reaches the ear canal and remains there, which can cause bacterial growth, resulting in an ear infection. Though swimmer’s ear is common in swimmers, some people may also experience it after a shower.

5.  Exposure to loud noises

Noise exposure is a top cause of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). You may feel your ears clog after attending a concert or watching a game at the stadium due to loud noises. The symptoms may disappear in a day or two. Excessive noise over a long time period can result in hearing loss.

Treatment for clogged ears

●   Valsalva maneuver

It is a simple process in which you pinch your nose and take a deep breath. Try to exhale with your nose, keeping your mouth closed. It can release fluid from behind your eardrum, improving your hearing. Avoid blowing too hard, as it may cause damage to the eardrum. Chew gum afterward to keep it open.

●   Steam

Steam from a hot shower can loosen mucus and wax in the ear. It can make it easier for the mucus to come out and can cure clogged ears. It may also improve flu symptoms and other infections that may lead to clogging of the ears.

●  Over-the-counter (OTC) medication

If sinus or other infections are causing your ears to clog, OTC medication can help relieve the symptoms, including plugged ears.

●  Ear drops

Sticking a foreign object in your ear to take the earwax out can be harmful. Instead, opt for ear drops that can help flush the wax out of your ear.


Clogged ears can be frustrating. They can lead to muffled sounds and hearing impairment. In severe cases, it can lead to hearing loss. It is essential to identify the cause behind clogged ears in order to treat them. Earwax buildup or hardening, fluid buildup, altitude changes, ear infections, and loud noises can clog your ears. Treatment for clogged ears depends on the cause. Ear drops can help clear the ear canal and improve your condition. Steam and OTC medications can also be helpful. Practicing the Valsalva maneuver can also open your ears.

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