Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged?

There are few feelings more annoying than a clog in your ear! It’s like a stuffy nose, but in the side of your head, and interrupting your hearing instead of your breathing. The only difference is that you can breathe through your mouth, but there’s no other way to hear.

The feeling of a clogged ear can be distracting, and it may even grow painful if the clog worsens. You may be asking, “Why does it feel like something is in my ear? What causes clogged ears in the first place? What can I do about the fact that my ear feels clogged?”

You’ve come to the right place. We’ve got the solution to your problem! We’ll help you understand why your ears feel clogged, and what you can do about the problem. Read on to learn more about, “Why my ears feel clogged?”

Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged: The Reasons Why

When you woke up this morning, what did your ears feel like? Did you have a feeling of fullness in the ear after a night’s sleep? How about after swimming or taking a bath?

If you answer these questions with “it feels like something is in my ear”, it means you’ve got a clog in your ears.

What causes clogged ears? Here are a few of the most common things that can cause the problem:

Ear Wax Build-Up

The wax clogged ear is probably the most well-known of the problems. Your ears produce ear wax as a means of protecting your ear canal from germs, infections, moisture, and insects. If your ear wax production increases, it may get to the point that there is TOO MUCH wax being produced for your ears to clean out naturally.

If your ear feels clogged and itchy, it’s usually a sign of excessive ear wax. It’s vital to get the wax cleaned out before it can become impacted and eventually clog your ear canal from letting sound into your eardrum.

Ear Infection

What about if your ear feels clogged but no wax comes out when you try to clean your ear? Well, is there any pain or swelling accompanying the clog? If so, it may be a sign that you are suffering from an ear infection.

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Ear wax build-up is fairly painless, but pain or discomfort is a classic sign of infection. Swimmer’s ear is the most common ear infections, and it’s very likely to cause swelling and discomfort or pain.


When you have a cold, it’s very likely that your nose becomes stuffed up. The blockage in your nasal passages leads to a blockage of the Eustachian tube that connects your nose to your ears.

This causes moisture to be trapped in your inner ear, leading to an inner ear infection – resulting in your ears feeling clogged from the cold. Allergies that cause nasal irritation or blockage can also be responsible for the problem.


If your ear feels like it has water in it, it could be a sign that there is a plug caused by moisture. If you’ve just stepped out of the shower, bathtub, pool, lake, or ocean, water is one of the most likely causes of the clog.

The good news is that it’s usually fairly easy to get water out of your ear!

Altitude Changes

We’ve all had that sudden “pop” in our ears when we yawn in a plane. A change in altitude can make your ears feel plugged, as your ear tries to equalize the pressure between your outer and middle ear. Scuba diving can also cause this problem.

Chewing gum or yawning will usually solve the problem, but the clog may persist for days or even weeks after a change in altitude.

Foreign Object

This is a problem more common among children than adults. If foreign objects are inserted into the ear, they can block off the ear canal. Even if they don’t fully block off the canal, the ear may try to protect itself by surrounding the object with wax.

The result, either way, is a clog. The simplest method to deal with the problem is to get your ear cleaned and have the object removed by a doctor.

Acoustic Neuroma

If your ear feels clogged but no wax comes out when you clean it, there is a chance that the clog is an acoustic neuroma. This is an uncommon tumor (non-cancerous) that grows around your ear’s acoustic nerve.

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It’s the result of a genetic malfunction, and a feeling of fullness in your ear is one of the side effects.

Now that you know what could possibly be causing the clog, it’s vital to try to deal with the problem. Always start with the simplest causes first (ear wax, water, etc.) before moving on to the more serious ones (infection, foreign object, etc.). 95% of the time, the solution will be a simple one!

Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged: How to Deal with the Problem

Now that you know what causes the clogged feeling in your ear, it’s time to figure out how to deal with the problem. Thankfully, the solutions are mostly very simple.

Here are the best ways to deal with a clog in your ear:

  • Use ear drops

Ear drops are a solution that can deal with most ear clogs. Medicated ear drops can help to deal with the clog resulting from an infection in your ear.

Hydrogen peroxide-based ear drops can soften impacted ear wax and make it easier for your ear to drain itself. Ear drops will usually clear the problem up fairly easily.

  • Get water out

If the clog is caused by water, the simple solution is to get rid of the water! That could be as easy as tilting your head to allow it to drain out, or it may take a bit more work.

Check out our article on “How to Get Water Out of Your Ears” to find simple solutions to your problem.

  • Clean out ear wax

Keeping your ears clean is one of the best ways to prevent clogs, and can help to get rid of existing blockages. You can use ear drops to clean the wax out or try some of the various home remedies.

Also, there is the Oto-Tip, a device made for quick and easy ear canal cleaning at home. With its soft tips and safety guard, it’s guaranteed to be safe and effective for at home use.

Your ears are supremely important! They enable you to hear, and they play an important role in your overall wellbeing. It’s vital that you take good care of them and keep them in good shape.

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Thanks to the advice above, you can prevent clogs from interfering with your quality of life.

35 thoughts on “Why Does My Ear Feel Clogged?

  • Hi there, I found your web site via Google while looking for a related topic, your site came up, it looks good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  • You forgot to mention another possible cause: allergies. I have allergies to molds that keep my left ear constantly “full”.

    • Lol I’m dealing with that exact problem right now! But they did mention it, “Allergies that cause nasal irritation or blockage can also be responsible for the problem.”

    • If it’s because of a cold you should pull down on your ear lobe and make a movement with your mouth almost like you are yawning and then you scream suck deez nuts.

    • Wondering if an upper back tooth being pulled could cause my left ear problem? I tried hydrogen peroxide but I will go see a doctor .

  • I’ve been a singer for 50 years but in the passed 2 years my right ear (especially) plugs up after about an hour of singing! I’ve held my nose and gently blew air into my mouth. It works …. for a VERY short time! As soon as I start singing, it plugs, again. I had my ear wax removed …. but that is obviously not the answer! Could the constant movement of my jaw irritate the Eustachian tube causing it to swell? If so, what can I do to cure this?

    • Same thing happens to me while singing, just in one ear– so frustrating and makes it harder to hear pitch. Would love to know why this happens and how to fix it, but haven’t found much info online about it.

  • I suffered from a clogged ear after getting off a flight. Immediately after landing I got a sinus infection and my ear stayed clogged for a month. It was driving me insane. I wasn’t attending social gatherings or going out because I couldn’t hear or focus and I felt so “off”. After seeing an ENT, I was put on some very strong antibiotics for my sinus infection, steroids for possible eustachian tube swelling and steroid nasal spray. The sinus infection went away right away, but my ear stayed plugged. The ENT said that my ear could stay this was for 1-2 months. I was not going to put up with that!!! I was willing to do anything. I read up on some options. 4 weeks into my condition I had a lymphatic massage of my head, neck, ears, shoulders and chest. This type of massage encourages drainage. During the massage I could hear my ear popping and clicking. Before I even got up off the massage table, I could feel liquid moving in my ear, but my ear and hearing were still blocked. Later that day I went to an acupuncturist. He asked me a lot of questions about my overall health. He inserted needles in areas that were meant to help ears and sinuses and other general health issues. When I left the office, I was feeling more movement in my ear. Once I got home I could feel even more drainage. My nose started running a lot. I blew my nose and could feel my ear opening up. It would squeal and release air. It still felt blocked but it was getting better. By the end of this evening my ear is 80% clear. I realized my other ear had blockage too. It just was so much better than the left ear it seemed fine. I am hoping by tomorrow my hearing is back to 100% and all drainage is complete.

    • You are describing almost exactly the same problem I had and continue to experience. However, my ears are not unblocked and my ENT said I have permanent hearing loss in both ears. Is is possible to regain my hearing?

  • I was experiencing very annoying ear clogging, dizziness, sensatively to sound..kept getting the runaround that it’s allergies. The medical assistant thought she would try a swab in my throat..turns out I had strep throat!

  • Hey there ! Thanks for the information… I’m glad to know the correct ways and even the TROUBLY THING that causes the problem ! Good work please giving these information’s out !

  • I know I have caused the problem myself by putting the qtips too far into my ear. It seems like it would be helpful for cleaning but the doctor said not to do this.

  • At first I thought it was one of those answers but then my mom put some ear drops and guess what was causing my ear too hurt… A cockroach was stuck in my ear?

  • Hi there.
    I feel like my ear is closed when I drank paracetamol the one mixed with water. My right ear was opened after 1 day by it self my left ear was still clogged. That’s my first time happening .
    Any advice please

  • My ear is blocked and hearing is disappearing i have seen my GP who prescribed some ear drops and said i had alot of wax. He gave me some drips to remove the wax its been two dayys now the wax hasnt come out am wandering what to do next. Its so uncomfortable.

    • Hi Edna,
      I have the same issue as you and was advised the same by my GP. Have you got any better since please?

  • My ear is blocked and cant hear with it too. The doc told me it has wax and prescribed some eardrops but its not coming out after a few days of using it. Its so uncomfortable and am wandering what next now.

  • You forgot to mention one of the most common reasons for clogged ears which is allergies. Congestion causing mucous that doesn’t move smoothly through eusthacian tunes can cause this uncomfortable feeling. Those of us who suffer from narrow and especially twisted tunes have even greater problems

  • Sometimes when i put my ear on pillow i would hear like ultrasonic wave or something. but back to the topic, i do hv the same problem. before this, i thought an ant might hv got into my ear n scratching until it felt blocked. now i know it has something to do with sinus n stuffy nose too.

  • I have had clogged ears in both due to a virus , muffled hearing or hearing loss had occurred . I was scared frustrated ,I went to the doc , advised I have ear infection and to take ear drops and nasal spray . Then my right ear started to ache and I had an infection on my right ear ,out drops in then clogged my hearing . It was not improving I went to an urgent care doc the advised I should not be using ear drops, it’s just fluid trapped behind my ear that will eventually drain , I was take oral antibiotics and a nasal spray that’s it it willl eventually subside and de clog so frustrating beyond belief . Ears take time to heal its all related to your sinuses .

  • My ears been clooged for 3 days now& its Startin to get really painful i went to the doctors & they gave me a eardrop to use & seems to make it worse theres soo much pain in my ear i need help asap?

  • My ears was really itchy and I typically try to relieve it with my pinky but they got blocked. I panicked a little. But I placed hydrogen peroxide on both left and right. The right one isn’t as bad as the left one. The left one seems completely blocked. I can hear but it is stuffy. I don’t want to freak out but did I damage my ears? I feel so stupid.

    • Hey I understand how you feel , it will clear it takes time about 8-10 days , ETD dysfunction can take months to completely heal itself , during this process you will be able to heal.

      I currently have ear popping after an ear infection , as was told I have ETD dysfunction , which takes months to clear its due to sinus allergies.

  • This particular feeling is only after I’ve slept. I wake up feeling like I have ear wax but it’s not. Then after about an hour of being up and moving. It is “unclogged” or “unblocked” again. It is just disconcerting. It has happened 3 days in a row now. What might be the cause?

    • There are probably a few reasons that you are experiencing this.
      Without a full examination, it would only be speculation, so I would recommend consulting an audiologist or doctor if you are concerned so that they can do a full assessment.

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