The Best Medicine for Clogged Ears
Clogged ears can be frustrating and depending on the cause of your symptoms, home remedies don’t always work. This article will explore some of the best clogged ears medicine and medications.
Why Are My Ears Clogged?
To start the most effective course of treatment, you’ll want to work out the cause of your clogged ears. We’ve covered many of the causes in our Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged? Causes and Treatment article, but to summarize here are some possible reasons:
- Fluid in the Ear
- Sinus Pressure
- Changes in Atmospheric Pressure
- Ear Wax Build-up
- Objects Obstructing Your Eardrum
Keep track of your experience and make a note of your symptoms. Not only will this help you to identify the cause, but this will also be useful information if you need to visit your doctor due to worsening or persistent symptoms.
Medicine For Congestion (Fluid in the Ear/Blocked Eustachian Tubes)
Blocked Eustachian tubes will often get better on their own or after trying to yawn or ‘popping your ears,’ as the tubes open briefly to let air in to make the pressure in the middle ears equal to the pressure outside of the ears.
If this doesn’t solve your problems, however, you should make an appointment with your doctor. They’ll be able to recommend an OTC pain medication to relieve your symptoms, but sometimes you might just have to wait for the ears to pop on their own.
If your congestion is caused by allergies, a steroid medicine that you can spray into your nose might help, or alternatively, decongestants that you take by mouth or spray into your nose will help ease congestion and unclog your ears.
Medicine for Clogged Ears Caused by an Infection
If your clogged ears are caused by an outer ear infection your doctor might recommend acidic ear drops to prevent bacteria or fungus from spreading. They might also suggest antibiotic ear drops for bacterial infections, steroid ear drops to reduce swelling, antifungal ear drops for fungal infection, and antibiotic tablets if the bacterial infection is severe or ongoing.
For infections inside the ear, antibiotics are not generally offered, as these infections usually go on their own (as stated by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). A painkiller such as paracetamol might be recommended for the pain (which antibiotics can’t treat).
This being said, you might be prescribed antibiotics in some instances, such as if your infection does not start to get better after three days, you have any fluid coming out of your ear, or you have an illness that means there’s a risk of complications (such as cystic fibrosis).
OTC Medicine for Clogged Ears
If you’re experiencing general stuffiness, ear discomfort, and sinus pain, an OTC pain reliever, such as painkillers such as ibuprofen (Motrin), paracetamol, or naproxen sodium (Aleve) are good short-term relief until you see a doctor.
OTC decongestant tablets or nasal sprays can ease sinus blockage and clogged ears, just be sure you don’t use them for more than three days as your body can get overly habituated to them.
Also be sure to avoid extreme temperatures, keep your head up, blow your nose gently (blocking one nostril), and drink plenty of fluids to help nasal mucus thin.
What Medicine to Avoid When You Have Clogged Ears
If you have an ear infection it is not recommended that you try either decongestants or antihistamines as they will not make a difference to your symptoms.
Of course, if this is not the cause of your problems they may help. It’s useful to keep track of your symptoms to try to work out what’s going on or visit a doctor for a diagnosis.
When to See a Doctor
If your symptoms are getting worse, aren’t going away at home, or you are also experiencing severe pain, a fever, dizziness, fluid drainage, bleeding from your ear, hearing loss, or balance problems you should make an appointment with your doctor.
They will have the right tools to safely remove wax if this is the issue, or can prescribe you medications.
Never attempt to remove ear wax on your own, as you could damage your ear. Your doctor will be able to advise you on whether the buildup needs removal and remove the earwax with proper cleaning techniques.
It is worth keeping in mind that chronic inflammation and tumors can cause symptoms of clogged ears, but can also cause permanent hearing problems. It is always worth visiting a doctor to rule out dangerous underlying conditions.
Your doctor might need to look in your nose (as it is connected to the ear) and some people may require medical imaging (if you have suspected acoustic neuroma).
The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources: