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kimchi's avatar

My ears are plugged... again! How do I fix it?

Asked by kimchi (913 points ) November 13th, 2012

I can’t drive. Mom is at work. My ear had a lot of earwax in it, I guess, and it started itching. So I scratched it. And then, my ears got plugged! Please help me!!!! And I don’t have hydrogen peroxide or anything like that.

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9 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

This has worked for me in the past. It’s low-tech, non-harmful and won’t hurt or make things worse.

I take two squares of toilet paper and fold them twice to stiffen the squares just a little. Then twist one of the corners into the sharpest point that you can and twirl that corner in your ear, basically “drilling” it into the wax.

There’s very little danger, because if you only use toilet paper (Kleenex just seems too soft), then you’re not putting anything very damaging into your ear. And as long as you haven’t twisted that corner until it’s ragged, then it’s not about to break off or shed in your ear, either, as a Q-tip can.

If the point comes back out covered with wax, then do the same with another corner until it comes out of your ear clean. Just the “drilling” action of that pointed corner can do a lot to penetrate the (probably) thin film of wax that is causing the blockage. Don’t go too wild, though. There’s always a risk when you’re putting something into your ear.

kimchi's avatar

Wow! Thanks

wildpotato's avatar

Dangit, I can’t find the answer I wanted to link you to. But the point is that our Fluther audiologist, hearkat, would say to not put anything in your ears. I think going to the doc is gonna be your best option, if that is a possibility.

Edit – check out her advice on this thread.

hearkat's avatar

Thanks, @wildpotato!

Yes, I am an Audiologist, and yes, I would recommend that you do not put anything in your ear unless you have been instructed to do so by a physician. Attempting to get wax out of the ear often results in only packing it in deeper. It is not uncommon for people to have a sensation of their ear being plugged, when there is nothing in the ear canal at all – as mentioned in my reply on the linked post above (and there are many other posts about clogged ears on Fluther).

First of all, do you have a prior history of having ear wax buildup?
How about a history of allergies or ear infections? Allergies cause ear itching and fullness.
Is it possible that you are coming down with a head cold or sinus infection?
Do you have any other symptoms, such as pain, ear popping, dizziness, or tinnitus (sounds inside the ear(s) or head)?

Even if there is wax in the ear canal, and you go poking around in your ear canal and manage not to hurt yourself and are able to get an opening so you feel less full and hear better, there is still very likely to be residual wax in the ear and it will only be a matter of time before it clogs up again. Sound only needs a pinhole to get through. I have some patients that find that the ear is clogged when they get out of the shower, because the wax expands from the heat and humidity, but then as it dries out again, the air and sound can get through.

The only way to know what is wrong is for a professional to examine your ears. Since it seems that the sensation is intermittent, it may well be wax or some other physical block of sound. If you are not in pain or having fever or other symptoms, it is not an emergency – just an uncomfortable inconvenience. Call your family doctor/pediatrician in the morning, and schedule an appointment.

philosopher's avatar

@hearkat
Deborox helps me and yes I plan to go to an ear, nose and throat doctor. My husband did. I have had this problem occasionally over the years.
I have to find a doctor who can accommodate my free hours and takes my insurance. In SI, New York.

hearkat's avatar

@philosopher: Debrox is effective for many who are prone to wax buildup. As close as Staten Island is to me, I can honestly say that I don’t know much about how its medical facilities are distributed. The best place to start is with your insurance company’s website, which should have a “Find A Doctor” search that will allow you to specify speciality and location. But to find a place with a wider variety of hours, you may be better off getting off SI. Surely, you must cross a bridge once in a while, no?

philosopher's avatar

@hearkat
I can find someone here. I am usually good at doing everything I am suppose to but I have been busy so I occasionally use Debrox.

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JLeslie's avatar

Chew gum. In fact I would say start chewing it more regularly to possibly “exercise” your eustacian tube so this happens less often in the future.

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