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Relieving Plugged Ears

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I've had some colds/bronchitis recently (still have a cough) and now one of my ears is completely plugged up. I've tried the Murine Ear Wax Removal, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Alcohol, but so far nothing has worked. Anyone have any suggestions or do I need to see the doctor? Thanks.

Bonnie from Tuckerton, NJ

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Recent Answers

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By Maggie08/15/2009

"Hold the nose and close mouth and blow really hard seemed to work for my daughter, so far one ear is unplugged, we'll keep trying for the other ear. "

This is HORRIBLE advice. DO NOT DO THIS ESPECIALLY WITH CHILDREN. It may feel like you are unplugging your ears, but doing this can cause a very serious outer ear infection, which is untreatable with antibiotics, very painful, and can last up to 4 weeks. Unfortunately I know from experience. Watch where you get your medical advice! You can also damage your eardrum permanently doing this!

By cheri06/01/2009

I have the answer!
I've had severe pain and plugged ears for over a week, especially in my right ear. It has now cleared up! I remembered my mother's advice. Back when I was a child, my mother took me to the doctor for what she thought was an ear infection. The doctor told her that it wasn't infected YET, but the pain was from being plugged up and the fluid. He advised her to give me Sudafed (or pseudoephedrine) but DOUBLE the dose. He told her that double dose was the same as a prescription. Well, as soon as my ears plugged up, I began taking pseudoephedrine (regular dose). I was afraid to take a higher dose after reading online that you should only take the recommended dosage. Well, my ear was crackling and popping and so plugged up (not getting any better) that I decided to take 3 pills, rather than 2 (90 mg. rather than 60 mg.) and see if the extra dose helped (not quite the double dose my mother use to give me).

Well, I took it last night before I went to be and WHALA! My ear was completely open this morning! No more iboprophen for pain....no more plugged....no more crackling! I can hear perfectly. The old time doctor was right! Also, I completely removed dairy products from my diet the last few days, as dairy products cause sinus problems, and it seemed to make my ears worse when I ate sour cream or cheese. I will continue to take my pseudoephedrine (regular dose) today just to make sure it doesn't plug back up.

**Make sure you get pseudoephedrine and NOT suphedrine -- which is the stuff sold on the shelf. They have moved pseudoephedrine behind the counter and you have to ask for it and show ID. I didn't know there was a difference, until I read in a magazine that the new suphedrine decongestant was only 10% more effective than a placebo! Pseudoephedrine works!

Good luck!

By Ken (Guest Post)02/25/2009

Back in Jan. a contacted a cold, just your average cold. After about a week it disappeared only to reemerge after a couple days. Then it became progressively worse. At that time I went to the doctor and he prescribed Biaxin XL and a nasal spray. Prior to seeing the doctor my ears plugged up(both) badly.The Doctor told me to use up the Medication and I did. I too had early Bronchitis. Chest problem left but ears remained plugged and still are. Now my throat is sore to point I practically can't swallow. This now in its 6th week. Am I ever going to survive?

By Target08 (Guest Post)01/01/2009

Hold the nose and close mouth and blow really hard seemed to work for my daughter, so far one ear is unplugged, we'll keep trying for the other ear.

By mima (Guest Post)11/14/2008

The feed back right above me really helped I have a cold right now and I blew my nose too hard. It made my ears plugged, but I closed my mouth and held my nose closed and blew and my ears started opening!

By Michael (Guest Post)09/26/2008

I too would like to share my recent experience with ear fullness as recently as Labour Day weekend 2008. I woke up in the middle of the night to a resounding ringing in both ears, sharp pains, and fullness fairly mild in my right ear but completely full in left ear. My ears were red, nose was congested and I had an headache from ear-to-ear. If I covered my right ear it was almost as if someone was trying to talk to me from behind a brick wall. I consulted with a doctor at a walk-in clinic and they diagnosed my situation as a severe sinus cold, which sounded reasonable as my wife was coming off a cold that she caught from my daughter, who likely got it from some other child at her daycare facility. The headache, eye issues and nose congestion went away but I had a terrible sensation of ear fullness in my left ear that left me unable to sleep at night because of it. What was prescribed to me to combat this was an antibiotic called Biaxin, which contains clarithromycin, for a 7 day period. 4 days into the cycle, I felt no difference and consulted with my family doctor and he told me to complete the cycle and then see but he also suggested that I take a nasal decongestant called Avamys. After the 7th day, I started to notice some improvement, instead of fullness, my ear started to pop and crackle when I would swallow. A good sign. But it wasn't until the 9th or 10th day when things turned to the better and to this day everything is back to normal. It was a gradual and steady improvement and what I avoided (although I was very tempted at times) was using Q-tips, popping my ears or putting any solution in them until the Biaxin/Avamys had its chance to do its thing. I thought to share this story with those who are experiencing a similar situation as I did in the hope of offering another suggestion/direction that might lead you toward a recourse in alleviating the problem.

By Kate (Guest Post)06/17/2008

Using the neti pot a couple times a day will help thin the mucus that is plugging your Eustachian tube, but you may also need to take some medication that will thin it. Mucinex is pretty good for that, just be sure to drink extra water.

By susan [5]06/15/2008

Go to a health food store and buy a Neti Pot, or a sinus irigation pot. They are wonderful for colds, allergies, and the like. Every time I use mine, my eustachian tubes open. I've gotten off all meds and feel so much better. We even had to get my husband one of his own, since after using mine, he refused to give it back. Stay away from dairy--it'll may your problem much worse.

By Kim Churchman [3]06/14/2008

Nothing applied to your ear will work, because the congestion is behind your eardrum. The wall of the eustachian tubes are full of cilia, which will move the congestion out over time. Use plenty of dairy foods if they cause mucus for you, because flowing rivers of mucus will help move the congestion.

By Gina Johnston [12]06/13/2008

Hey there!

At our house, most things are handled by "Dr. Mom", and she has found out through a friend that oregano oil works wonders. I buy the capsules and if you take it three times a day while ill, it'll kick most things in short order. It works particularly well for upper respiratory problems, or sinus issues. Try it, and if it's particularly bad, take grape seed extract at the same time.

Good Luck!

By Guest (Guest Post)06/13/2008

A year and a half ago, I had a really bad cold that plugged up my ears for several weeks. Nothing would make them pop. After a couple of rounds of antibiotics to clear the ear infections that had settled in, one ear popped, but the other stayed stubbornly plugged up. My primary doctor referred me to a specialist, and that is when it was discovered that I have a genetic hearing loss! Having my ears plugged up so long made it worse. My ear finally did pop a little bit a few times, but I still feel like it's slightly plugged up. Prior to my ears being plugged up for so long, I had only mild hearing difficulties. Since then, my hearing loss is definitely an issue for me. Please get it checked out.

By Chris Ellyson [2]06/13/2008

You said you've had colds lately. Try a decongestant from the drugstore and _gently_ hold your nose and blow to inflate your Eustachian tubes several times a day. And unless a doctor recommends it, it is not usually a good idea to remove natural earwax.

By DEE (Guest Post)06/13/2008

If you have bronchitis, you really need to see the doctor before it goes into your chest. My daughters have this often and the longer you wait, the worse it gets.
If it is just your ears that are stopped up, saline solution sprayed into your nose will help clear up your ears. You might need to spray it a couple of times, then remember to use it when needed. It beats having to take a decongestant and feel bad while it works.

By Artlady (Guest Post)06/13/2008

I can usually unstop my ears with warm water, peroxide and an ear bulb. I just keep compressing and squirting water in my ear until it opens up. Sometimes it takes 4 or 5 times. But, my husband has had times when his ear would not open up not matter what he used. He found out his ear tubes were collapsed. The doctor told him to hold his nose and shut his mouth and blow really hard. He had to do this 5 or 6 times a day, but it finally cleared his ears. Hope this helps. Boy, it can be so annoying.

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