How Long Does a Clogged Ear Last? Understanding the Causes and Treatment Options

Have you ever experienced having a clogged ear? It’s a common sensation we encounter every now and then. But, it’s also one that can be incredibly frustrating and uncomfortable to deal with. The good news is that it usually doesn’t last very long. In this article, I will be discussing how long a clogged ear usually lasts, some of the common reasons for it happening, and what you can do to alleviate the discomfort.

A clogged ear can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons for it is due to a buildup of earwax. Another reason could be due to allergies or sinus congestion. It can also occur due to changes in air pressure, such as during air travel or altitude changes. Whatever the cause may be, the feeling of having a clogged ear can make it difficult to hear properly and can also be quite uncomfortable.

Fortunately, most cases of a clogged ear will only last a few days to a week. But, it’s important to take care of your ears to prevent any further damage from occurring. If you notice any signs of infection or if your clogged ear persists for more than a week, it’s best to seek medical advice from your healthcare provider. So, let’s dive into this topic and discover the ins and outs of how long a clogged ear lasts.

Causes of Ear Blockage

Ear blockage, also known as clogged ears, can occur due to various reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of ear blockage:

  • Earwax buildup: Earwax is a waxy substance that is produced by the ear canal. It helps to protect the ear from dust and other particles. However, when earwax builds up, it can cause a blockage in the ear canal, leading to clogged ears.
  • Ear infections: Infections in the ear, such as otitis media, can cause inflammation and swelling, leading to a blockage in the ear. It can also cause pain and discomfort in the affected ear.
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction: The Eustachian tube is a small tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. When this tube is blocked, it can cause a buildup of pressure in the middle ear, leading to a feeling of fullness or clogged ears.

If you are experiencing clogged ears, it is important to identify the underlying cause in order to properly treat it. In some cases, such as earwax buildup, it may be possible to address the issue at home with over-the-counter ear drops or by using a warm compress to soften the earwax.

However, if the cause of your clogged ears is an infection or Eustachian tube dysfunction, it may be necessary to seek medical treatment. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or recommend other treatments, such as nasal sprays or allergy medications, to alleviate the blockage and prevent further complications.

Symptoms of Clogged Ears

When you experience a clogged ear, you may feel discomfort or pressure in your ear. It may also be difficult to hear or even feel like your ear is plugged. Here are some common symptoms of clogged ears:

  • Reduced hearing: When there is a blockage in the ear canal, sounds may seem muffled or muted, which can make it difficult to communicate with others or accomplish tasks.
  • Pain or discomfort: A clogged ear may feel uncomfortable or even painful. The pressure in the ear can cause a dull ache, which may intensify when you chew, swallow, or yawn.
  • Tinnitus: When the ear is plugged, some people may experience ringing in their ears or other types of noises that no one else can hear.

It is important to note that a clogged ear can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an ear infection or even a ruptured eardrum. If you experience any of these symptoms in addition to fever, severe pain, or drainage from the ear, it is important to see a healthcare professional immediately.

If you experience a clogged ear, you may also try some gentle at-home remedies to ease the discomfort. A warm compress applied to the ear can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Additionally, over-the-counter ear drops or a few drops of warm olive oil or apple cider vinegar can be applied to the affected ear to loosen any built-up earwax. However, it is recommended to speak with a healthcare professional before attempting any home remedies.

Causes of Clogged EarsDescription
Earwax BuildupWhen too much earwax accumulates in the ear canal, it can create a blockage and clog the ear.
Ear InfectionFluid buildup in the middle ear due to an infection can cause clogged ears.
Swimmer’s EarA type of ear infection caused by water that gets trapped in the ear canal, creating a moist environment for bacteria to grow and cause inflammation.
Changes in AltitudeWhen flying or driving up a mountain, changes in pressure can cause the Eustachian tube to temporarily close, leading to clogged ears.

In conclusion, clogged ears are a common and often temporary condition that can be caused by a variety of factors. If you experience any symptoms of a clogged ear, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the cause and receive effective treatment.

Earwax removal techniques

When dealing with a clogged ear, the first thing that comes to mind is removing the earwax. Here are some effective earwax removal techniques:

  • Cotton swabs: Despite their popularity, cotton swabs are not recommended for earwax removal as they push the earwax further into the ear canal.
  • Ear drops: This method involves using ear drops to soften the earwax, making it easier to remove. Olive oil, hydrogen peroxide, and glycerin are some common ear drops used for this purpose.
  • Irrigation: Irrigation involves using a syringe or specialized ear irrigation kit to flush the ear canal with warm water or saline solution. This method should only be done by a healthcare professional.

It is important to note that not all earwax needs to be removed and attempting to clean the ears excessively can lead to further complications. Consulting with a healthcare professional is always the best option before attempting any earwax removal technique.

Additionally, there are certain situations where earwax removal should be avoided. If there is pain, discharge, or bleeding from the ear, it is best to seek medical attention rather than attempting to remove the earwax on your own.

When to see a doctor

While earwax buildup is a common cause of clogged ears, it is not always the case. In some instances, a clogged ear can be a sign of a more serious condition such as an ear infection or a blockage in the ear canal. If the clogged ear persists for more than a week, or is accompanied by pain, fever, or dizziness, it is important to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can determine the cause of the clogged ear and provide appropriate treatment.

The Do’s and Don’ts

When it comes to earwax removal, it is important to follow certain guidelines to ensure the procedure is done safely and effectively:


  • Consult with a healthcare professional before attempting any earwax removal techniques.
  • Use ear drops to soften the earwax before attempting to remove it.
  • Use a bulb syringe or specialized ear irrigation kit properly if you choose to irrigate your ears.
  • Contact a healthcare professional if there is pain, discharge, or bleeding from the ear.


  • Attempt to remove earwax with cotton swabs.
  • Use any foreign objects to remove earwax.
  • Irrigate your ears if you have any history of ear problems, such as a perforated eardrum or recurrent ear infections.
  • Clean your ears excessively.
Earwax Removal TechniqueAdvantagesDisadvantages
Cotton swabsEasy to use, widely availablePushes earwax further into the ear canal, can damage the eardrum
Ear dropsEffective at softening the earwax, relatively inexpensiveMay require several applications, can cause irritation or allergic reactions
IrrigationEffective at removing earwax, done by a healthcare professionalNot recommended for people with a history of ear problems, can cause vertigo or infection if done improperly

By following these guidelines and understanding the various earwax removal techniques available, individuals can safely and effectively manage clogged ears and improve their overall ear health.

Home remedies for clogged ears

If you are experiencing a clogged ear, there are several home remedies that may provide relief. It is always important to consult with a doctor if the problem persists, but these remedies can be helpful in the meantime.

  • Chewing gum: Chewing gum can help relieve a clogged ear by opening up the Eustachian tube. This is because the act of chewing stimulates the muscles in the jaw and the Eustachian tube, promoting drainage.
  • Nasal irrigation: This involves rinsing out the nasal passages with a solution made of salt and water. This can help clear out any excess mucus that may be causing the clogged ear.
  • Warm compress: Placing a warm compress on the affected ear can help relieve pressure and open up the Eustachian tube.

In addition to these remedies, there are also some exercises that can be done to help alleviate a clogged ear:

1. Toynbee Maneuver: Pinch your nose shut and swallow simultaneously. This can help regulate the pressure in the ears and promote drainage.

2. Jaw-jutting exercise: Push your jaw forward while your mouth is closed, then move it back to its regular position. Repeat this several times to open up the Eustachian tube.

3. Yawning: Yawning can help open up the Eustachian tube and relieve pressure in the ears.

RemedyHow to Use
Chewing gumChew gum for 5-10 minutes.
Nasal irrigationMix 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water. Tilt your head and pour the solution into one nostril, allowing it to flow out the other.
Warm compressPlace a warm washcloth or heating pad on the affected ear for 5-10 minutes at a time.

If you are experiencing a clogged ear, these remedies and exercises may be able to provide some relief. However, if the problem persists, it is important to consult with a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Medications for Ear Blockage

When dealing with ear blockage, medications can provide relief and speed up the recovery process. Here are some common medications used for treating ear blockage:

  • Decongestants: These medications help to reduce swelling in the eustachian tubes and improve ventilation in the ear. They come in the form of pills, nasal sprays, and drops. Nasal sprays and drops are commonly recommended for faster relief, but prolonged use can lead to dependency and worsen the condition.
  • Antibiotics: If the ear blockage is caused by an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. They help to kill the bacteria responsible for the infection and reduce inflammation. However, antibiotics should not be taken without medical consultation as they can lead to antibiotic resistance and have other side effects.
  • Pain Relievers: Ear blockage can cause earaches and headaches, which can be relieved by pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen. They also help to reduce inflammation and fever.

In some cases, a doctor may also recommend the following medications:

  • Steroids: These medications can help to reduce inflammation, swelling and alleviate the discomfort caused by ear blockage. They come in the form of pills, injections, nasal sprays, and drops. However, extended use of steroids can lead to side effects such as weight gain, mood changes, and weakened bones.
  • Diuretics: Diuretics help to eliminate excess fluid in the body, which can relieve pressure on the ears. They are usually prescribed when the ear blockage is caused by altitude sickness or excess fluid retention.
  • Earwax Softeners: If ear blockage is caused by the accumulation of earwax, earwax softeners can help to loosen and remove earwax. They come in the form of drops and can be purchased over the counter.

Precautions and Side Effects

When taking medications for ear blockage, it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and take the recommended dosage. Overuse or misuse of medications can lead to side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

Pregnant women, people with kidney or liver diseases, and those with allergies to certain medications should consult their doctor before taking any medication for ear blockage. The doctor may recommend alternative treatments or adjust the dosage accordingly.


Medications can be a helpful tool in treating ear blockage, but it is important to use them correctly and under the guidance of a medical professional. In addition to medications, proper ear hygiene can also prevent ear blockage. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention immediately.

DecongestantsReduce swelling in the eustachian tubesDo not use for prolonged periods
AntibioticsKills bacteria responsible for infection and reduce inflammationShould not be used without medical consultation
Pain RelieversAlleviate earaches and headaches, reduce inflammation and feverFollow dosage instructions carefully



When to seek medical help for a clogged ear

In most cases, clogged ears will go away on their own within a few hours or days. However, if the symptoms persist for longer than a few days or if they are accompanied by other warning signs, it may be time to see a doctor.

  • If the clogged ear is accompanied by severe pain, dizziness, or fever, seek medical attention immediately.
  • If you have recently been on an airplane, had a head injury, or experienced sudden changes in altitude, it is important to seek medical attention as these can cause serious ear complications.
  • Individuals with chronic ear infections or who have had previous ear surgery should also seek medical attention if they experience a clogged ear.

When you see a doctor for a clogged ear, they will likely examine your ear using an instrument called an otoscope. This will allow them to check for any blockages or other potential problems. Depending on the cause of your clogged ear, your doctor may recommend treatment options such as antibiotics, ear drops, or even surgery.

If you experience any of the following warning signs, it is important to seek medical help:

Warning SignsPossible Causes
Severe pain in the earEar infection, injury, or trauma
Dizziness or loss of balanceInner ear puncture, infection, or damage
Recent head injury or changes in altitudeEar complications due to pressure change

If you are unsure whether or not you should seek medical attention for a clogged ear, it is always better to err on the side of caution and make an appointment with your doctor. They can help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

Complications of Untreated Ear Blockage

When an ear becomes clogged, it can cause discomfort and pain. If left untreated, it can lead to several complications that can impact the overall health of the ear and the person. Here are some of the potential complications that can arise from untreated ear blockage:

  • Hearing Loss: If the ear blockage is severe and remains untreated for a prolonged period, it can lead to hearing loss. When the ear canal is clogged, it can’t transmit sound waves effectively, leading to a reduction in hearing ability.
  • Vertigo: The buildup of fluid in the ear canals due to blockage can cause vertigo, a sensation of dizziness and loss of balance. This can lead to difficulties in standing, walking, and performing everyday tasks.
  • Tinnitus: The blockage of the ear canal can also cause tinnitus, a condition in which a person experiences a ringing, buzzing, or other noise in their ear. This can be a persistent problem that can impact their quality of life.

Additionally, untreated ear blockage can worsen over time, leading to more severe complications, such as:

  • Ear Infections: When the ear is clogged, it can create an environment where bacteria thrive, leading to infections. This can cause inflammation, redness, pain, and other symptoms that require medical attention.
  • Perforated Eardrum: If the pressure from the blockage is too high, it can cause the eardrum to rupture, leading to a perforated eardrum. This can cause severe pain, discharge, and hearing loss.
  • Mastoiditis: Mastoiditis is a severe infection of the bone behind the ear. It can occur when an ear infection spreads or goes untreated. Symptoms include fever, headache, and swelling behind the ear.


It’s essential to seek medical attention if you experience ear blockage or any related symptoms, especially if they persist for more than a few days. Your doctor can diagnose the underlying cause of the blockage and recommend effective treatment options. Ignoring the symptoms of an ear blockage can lead to severe complications that can impact your overall health and quality of life.

Complications of Untreated Ear BlockageSymptomsTreatment
Hearing LossReduced hearing abilityAudiology evaluation, hearing aids, or surgery
VertigoDizziness, loss of balanceVestibular rehabilitation therapy or medications
TinnitusRinging, buzzing, or other noise in the earMedications, sound therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy
Ear InfectionsInflammation, redness, pain, dischargeAntibiotics, eardrops, or surgery
Perforated EardrumSevere pain, discharge, and hearing lossSelf-healing or surgery
MastoiditisFever, headache, and swelling behind the earAntibiotics, hospitalization, or surgery

The above table provides a summary of the possible complications of untreated ear blockage, their symptoms, and the recommended treatment options. It’s advisable to consult a medical professional for a proper evaluation and treatment of your ear blockage to prevent severe complications.

Prevention of clogged ears

Clogged ears can be very frustrating. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help prevent them from occurring:

  • Keep your ears clean: Be sure to clean your ears regularly with a damp cloth. However, avoid using cotton swabs or other objects to clean your ears, as this can push wax deeper into the ear canal and potentially cause a blockage.
  • Avoid excess ear wax: To avoid excess ear wax build-up, avoid using earplugs or earbuds for long periods of time, as this can push earwax farther into the ear canal.
  • Avoid exposure to loud noises: Exposure to loud noises can cause damage to your ears, which can lead to clogged ears. Be sure to wear earplugs or other protective gear when exposed to loud noise.
  • Practice good hygiene: Good hygiene can help prevent ear infections, which can lead to clogged ears. Be sure to wash your hands regularly and avoid sharing items like towels or pillows.
  • Treat allergies promptly: Allergies can cause inflammation and excess mucus production, which can lead to clogged ears. Treating allergies promptly can help prevent this from happening.
  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause thickened mucus production, which can contribute to clogged ears. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Avoid rapid changes in pressure: Rapid changes in pressure, such as those experienced during air travel or scuba diving, can cause clogged ears. Try chewing gum or swallowing to relieve pressure during these situations.
  • Exercise caution when using earplugs: Earplugs can be useful in certain situations but be sure to use caution when inserting them. Read and follow package instructions and avoid pushing them too deeply into the ear canal.

Understanding Prevention of Clogged Ears

By taking these preventative measures, you can help reduce your risk of developing clogged ears. However, it is important to remember that sometimes ear clogs occur despite your best efforts to prevent them. If you find that you are experiencing symptoms of a clogged ear, be sure to consult a medical professional for prompt treatment.

Foods That Can Help Prevent Clogged Ears

In addition to the above prevention measures, there are certain foods that can help prevent clogged ears. These include:

GarlicAnti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and prevent ear infections
SalmonContains omega-3 fatty acids which may help reduce inflammation and prevent ear infections
GingerContains anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and prevent ear infections
SpinachContains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent ear infections
YogurtContains probiotics which can help boost your immune system and prevent ear infections

Incorporating these foods into your diet can help strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of developing clogged ears.

Common misconceptions about clogged ears

Clogged ears are a common condition that affects many people for various reasons. It can be caused by earwax buildup, allergies, ear infections, sinus infections, or changes in air pressure such as flying or diving. While this condition is usually not serious, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, leading people to misconceptions about its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

  • It will go away on its own: While clogged ears caused by temporary factors such as changes in air pressure can go away on their own, others may require medical attention. Without proper treatment, clogged ears can lead to long-term hearing damage and even hearing loss.
  • It’s always caused by earwax: Earwax buildup is a common cause of clogged ears, but it is not always the reason. Allergies, infections, and foreign objects can also block the ear canal.
  • Q-Tips are the best way to clean ears: Using Q-tips or any other objects to clean earwax can push it deeper into the ear canal, causing more buildup and further blockage.

It’s important to know the facts about clogged ears and seek proper treatment to avoid complications. Below are some additional misconceptions related to this condition:

  • Decongestants will cure it: While decongestants can help relieve some symptoms of a clogged ear caused by congestion, they won’t cure the underlying condition.
  • Putting oil in the ear will help: While some people use oils such as olive oil or baby oil to soften and remove earwax buildup, it can also cause infection in some cases. It’s best to seek medical advice before using any home remedies.
  • Clogged ears only affect divers or frequent air travelers: Clogged ears can affect anyone, regardless of their lifestyle or occupation.

To better understand the misconceptions surrounding clogged ears, the following table shows some common myths and facts about this condition:

Clean ears prevent clogged ears.Over-cleaning earwax can cause it to push further into the ear canal, leading to blockage.
Cotton swabs are safe for ear cleaning.Cotton swabs can push earwax deeper into the ear canal, leading to more blockage and damage.
Clogged ears always result in hearing loss.While hearing loss can be a symptom of clogged ears, it is not always the case.
It’s better to wait for the clogged ear to clear up on its own.If a clogged ear is causing pain, hearing loss, or other discomfort, seek medical attention to avoid further complications.

It’s important to seek proper medical advice whenever dealing with any ear-related issues. Avoiding misconceptions and taking the right steps to keep your ears healthy can prevent potential complications and improve overall hearing health.

Relationship between allergies and blocked ears

Allergies can cause a plethora of symptoms, including a blocked ear. When allergies affect the ears, it leads to a condition called Eustachian tube dysfunction. The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the back of the throat and is responsible for equalizing the pressure between the middle ear and the outside world. When the tube is blocked due to allergies, the middle ear experiences a difference in pressure, leading to a blocked or clogged ear.

  • Allergic Rhinitis: Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the environment, such as pollen, dust, or animal dander. The inflammation and congestion caused by allergies block the Eustachian tube, leading to a clogged ear.
  • Food Allergies: Certain food allergies can cause inflammation in the body, including the ears, leading to Eustachian tube dysfunction and a blocked ear.
  • Environmental Allergies: Allergies to mold, pet hair, or dust mites can cause inflammation in the ears, leading to clogged ears.

If you suffer from allergies, it’s essential to take steps to manage them to prevent a blocked ear. Some ways to manage allergies include avoiding allergens, taking over-the-counter antihistamines, and seeking medical treatment from an allergy specialist.

If you experience a blocked ear due to allergies, it’s crucial to seek medical treatment, as the condition can lead to further complications if left untreated, such as hearing loss or a ruptured eardrum.

Allergy SymptomsEustachian Tube Dysfunction Symptoms
Nasal congestionEar fullness
Runny noseMuffled hearing
SneezingPopping or clicking sounds in the ear
Itchy eyes and noseDifficulty equalizing pressure

Proper management of allergies can not only prevent a blocked ear but also improve your overall quality of life. If you suffer from allergies, it’s essential to work with your healthcare provider to develop a management plan to prevent the complications that can arise from allergies.

FAQs about How Long Does a Clogged Ear Last

1. How long can a clogged ear last?

Typically, a clogged ear can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on the cause of the blockage.

2. What causes a clogged ear?

A clogged ear can be caused by a variety of factors, including ear wax buildup, fluid in the ear, or an infection.

3. Are there any home remedies to unclog my ear?

Yes, there are several home remedies that may help relieve a clogged ear, such as using warm compresses, tilting your head, and using over-the-counter ear drops.

4. When should I seek medical attention for a clogged ear?

If your clogged ear is accompanied by pain, dizziness, or hearing loss, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

5. Can a clogged ear be prevented?

There are several things you can do to prevent a clogged ear, such as avoiding activities that may increase your risk of ear wax buildup or infection.

6. What can a doctor do to relieve a clogged ear?

A doctor may be able to help relieve a clogged ear by cleaning out ear wax or prescribing medications to treat an infection or fluid buildup.

7. Will my clogged ear ever go away on its own?

In many cases, a clogged ear will resolve on its own within a few days. However, if the blockage persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, medical attention may be necessary.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for taking the time to read these FAQs about how long does a clogged ear last. Hopefully, you found them informative and helpful. If you’re currently suffering from a clogged ear, remember that there are several home remedies and medical treatments available to help relieve your symptoms. Please visit again later to learn more about health-related topics.

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Dadang Oray

Dadang Oray is a blogger who writes about interesting topics on the internet. He has a unique writing style and covers a wide range of subjects. He enjoys exploring new websites and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in technology and social media.