How to relieve ear congestion
Ear congestion is often referred to as an obstruction of the ear canal. This congestion can be felt in many ways, and in some cases, it is related to problems with sinuses, colds or allergies. You may feel your ears clenched, or experience a reduction in hearing ability, a wind-like sound in a tunnel, or a general feeling that your ear is filled with mucus or other fluids. You may experience congestion in your ears even when the air pressure inside the middle ear changes, like on an aeroplane or due to a change in altitude. Use these tips to relieve ear congestion.
1) Determine the causes of your congestion.
If you have just come down from an aeroplane, you may experience an obstruction in your ears that will vanish by itself. If you have recently suffered from a cold or allergies, you may experience ear congestion similar to nasal congestion. If you have difficulty hearing, you may also suffer from an excessive accumulation of ear wax. Consult a doctor if symptoms last longer than 48 hours and are accompanied by pain.
2) Use gravity.
In some cases, ear congestion is due to fluids in the Eustachian tubes, which are part of the middle ear. If you think you can have fluids in your ear, here are some tricks that use gravity to alleviate congestion.
Stand on one foot, incline the head from the side of the blocked ear, and slowly jump on one foot. Be careful not to fall. This technique can help get fluids out of your ear canal.
Lie on one side with your head resting on a pillow. Keep your ear stuck down. Rest in this way for an hour. Again gravity might help you get the fluids out of your ear.
3) Use a decongestant.
If your ear congestion is the result of seasonal or cold allergies, take a decongestant. This will reduce the swelling in your ear canal. You can also take decongestants and antihistamines at the same time if you follow the instructions on the packaging of drugs.
4) Put a finger in your ear and try to create some emptiness.
Try putting the index finger in your ear and moving it gently upward. The ears are all different in shape, so it may be necessary to adjust the movements. Move your finger to the ear gently until it forms a vacuum. Try sucking out the liquid from the ear this way.
5) Try a steam treatment with warm water and a towel.
Put hot water that produces steam in a large bowl, cover your head with a towel, and keep your head covered on the vapours. Steam can help to thin and dissolve the mucus.
Try to treat yourself to tea or other herbs. Some infusions such as chamomile, have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and for this reason, they are very suitable for steam treatments.
You can also try a hot shower, a sauna or a dehumidifier.
Treating a congestion caused by pressure
6) Treats the obstruction of the inner ear.
If you are flying or driving at a high altitude, you may experience an ear obstruction due to pressure. Sudden changes in altitude causing changes in air pressure, and can cause congestion in the ears.
7) Try yawning or swallowing.
Often this will eliminate air from the inner ear. Chewing a gum will help you swallow due to the increased production of saliva.
Try the Valsalva manoeuvre. Tap the nostrils with your fingers and gently blow with your nose to adjust the air pressure. You should feel a slight uncoupling sound if you have performed the manoeuvre correctly.
8) Take antihistamines before the flight.
Take an antihistamine 30 minutes to 1 hour before boarding the plane or driving at high altitude. Antihistamines will lessen the irritants in the ear canal which may cause swelling, allowing a more fluid passage of the air into the inner ear.
9) Use earplugs to filter changes in air pressure.
This type of caps is available at the pharmacy or at the airport shops.
Treating the Congestion Caused by Cerumen
10) Remove the earwax with a product without a prescription.
Occlusions occur when the earwax is pushed deep into the ear canal.Apply a wax removal product if excess causes congestion. Use the product following the instructions in the package.Cotton sticks and other items such as rolled handkerchiefs can make the situation worse. The cotton sticks will remove the wax but will push the remaining one even deeper.
People who wear hearing systems can suffer from this problem more commonly.
11) Use a simple solution of vinegar and isopropyl alcohol to dissolve the ear wax.
You can use this solution by carefully pouring it with a dropper into the ear to dissolve the earwax and remove fluids trapped behind the earwax.
Alternatively, use light hydrogen peroxide (3%) and pour a few drops into the ear. You will clean the ear as well as remove the ear wax.
Do not put any fluid in the ear if you have a perforated eardrum or suspect an infection. Consult a doctor.
12) Doctors do not recommend the use of ear candles.
The candles for the ears are made of paraffin and beeswax with a piece of cloth, and to use them you will have to light one and put the other in the ear. In this way you should create a vacuum, attracting the ear wax out of the ear. Clinical tests have raised doubts about the effectiveness of this method, which does not justify the risks involved.
Treating a congestion caused by an infection
13) Consult the doctor.
If your congestion is accompanied by pain in the inner ear or your outer ear is sensitive to touch, you may have an ear infection. They are very common, especially in young children. Your doctor will prescribe the following treatments.
Take antibiotics as directed by your doctor. Ear infections could be treated with antibiotics to fight the bacteria that caused them.
Use prescription ear drops, such as anti-pyrene-benzocaine. It is an anaesthetic drug that will not alleviate congestion but will reduce the sensation of pain.
14) Put a warm compress on the infected ear.
Use an electric blanket or a hot water bottle. The heat will help to dissolve the congestion and soothe the pain.
15) Consider these suggestions.
If you have any doubts, talk to your doctor about their usefulness and relevance to your case.
Take antihistamines only if your ear infection is accompanied by congestion. Antihistamines will dry your throat and respiratory tract, so remember to hydrate yourself a lot.
If your newborn baby has an ear infection, get him to eat from a bottle in an upright position if possible. Do not put your child to bed with a bottle and try to resume breastfeeding as soon as your paediatrician gives you directions to that effect.
Gargle with a saline solution can help alleviate a sore throat that accompanies many ear infections, as well as relieves the Eustachian tubes. Try a simple solution of warm water and a tablespoon of salt; or water, lemon and honey. Gargle for 15-30 seconds and then spit.