Why Do My Ears Feel Clogged? 5 Ways to Unclog Your Ears

by | 03/27/2023 | Hearing Health, Hearing Test, Patient Resources

Just because the feeling of fullness in the ear is not painful does not mean it’s not worth getting checked out

Very few things in life are more discomforting than clogged ears.

Most people assume it’s due to wax or water, and while these are true, your ears can be clogged due to a range of reasons.

If you need an answer to the age-old question, “Why do my ears feel clogged?” then our team at All About Hearing is here to help.

We want to prevent any further damage as quickly as possible. The earlier we can spot a problem, the more options we have to treat it.

What Do Clogged Ears Feel Like?

Clogged ears feel like you are having a buildup of pressure within your ear. They will have a feeling of fullness, usually caused by swollen Eustachian tubes, which connect the ears to the nose.

Many people also have feelings of dizziness, reduced hearing, and even ear pain.

If you’re asking “Why does my ear hurt?” then it’s probably clogged. Fortunately, we know how to unclog your ear and can help prevent it from happening in the future.

What Are the Causes?

Whether your ears feel clogged or not, it’s always a good idea to practice suitable prevention measures. Even if you’ve never experienced clogged ears before, we want to keep it that way by avoiding these common causes.

Change in pressure (airplane, underwater)

You probably know how to pop your ears, but what that really means is you’re trying to open the Eustachian tubes to relieve pressure.

This is the most common cause of clogged ears and is temporary in most cases.

Swimmer’s Ear

Not all clogged ears happen in the Eustachian tubes; if you are exposed to water, your ear canal can become inflamed.

Knowing how to get water out of your ear can prevent this. Gravity is the most common and safest remedy; keep your head tilted to the affected ear and let the water drain out.


Many people assume that the leading cause of clogged ears is earwax buildup, but it’s not as common as you may think.

The main cause of clogged ears from earwax is due to the incorrect use of cotton swabs, which can push wax further down the ear canal causing a blockage.

Using cotton swabs is not recommended, as this can lead to earaches, infection, and even a perforated eardrum.


Your inner and outer ear could be affected by an infection that causes clogged ears.

We see this a lot during changing seasons when sinus congestion and allergies are prevalent. This causes the Eustachian tubes to block and allows fluid to build up within.


Any sort of blunt force trauma sustained by your ears during sports, such as boxing or football, or even by accident, can lead to clogged ears.

Sometimes this is temporary, but if there are any signs of bleeding, then please contact us immediately.

Safe Methods for Unclogging Ears

It’s important to note that in most cases, your ears will normalize, but if you want to know how to unclog your ears sooner, try one of these:

  • Swallowing or chewing (e.g., gum)
  • Yawning
  • Nasal decongestant
  • Pinch nose, close mouth, and gently try to blow through your nose

If clogged ears happen often, then please come see us for a check-up. We know how to properly clean ears and can identify if anything more serious is affecting your ears.

What to Do If You Have Clogged Ears?

If any of the above remedies don’t work and your ears remain clogged, please contact us. Just because the feeling of fullness in the ear is not painful does not mean it’s not worth getting checked out.

Many patients come in asking us “how to unplug my ear,” and our answer always starts the same; schedule an appointment with an expert, and we’ll be able to use that information to diagnose and treat your clogged ears.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Joycelin Lopez, Au.D., CCC-A

Dr. Joycelin grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida. Initially, she earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the state’s university. Then following graduation, she became a learning specialist, working with the hard of hearing. This experience sparked her curiosity in audiology. She returned to the University of Florida for graduate studies, where she gained her doctor of audiology degree. This education took her to North Carolina, where she completed an externship that focused on balance evaluations and central auditory processing. Her decision to move to Midland in late 2020 showcases her spirit of adventure. But also, it demonstrates her determination to find and assist people who can benefit from her professional expertise. Besides audiology, Dr. Joycelin has a passion for art, having taken classes all her life. Mostly, she works with watercolors, but she also has an interest in digital animation.

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