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How to unplug your ears when you're sick

Updated February 21, 2017

Being sick comes with its own set of problems such as fatigue, sneezing, body pain and runny nose. But oftentimes, fighting the common cold or sinusitis presents other issues such as ear congestion. A clogged ear can trigger tinnitus and impair hearing. Fortunately, congestion in the ear isn't a permanent condition, and the ears usually pop as mucus drains. If you don't want to wait for congestion to clear on its own, there are natural remedies and products to offer fast relief.

Undo congestion with over-the-counter medications. Mucus drainage can quickly unclog or clear ear congestion. Take cold or sinus medications with an added decongestant for fast relief. Use as directed.

Loosen mucus in the ear with steam. A hot, wet cloth or towel placed against your clogged ear can help thin mucus and stop congestion when you're sick.

Take a long, hot shower. Moisture produced from a steamy bathroom shower promotes mucus drainage and helps unplug clogged ears.

Use a humidifier when you're sick. Turn on a humidifier to clear congestion in your nose, chest and ears. Use a cool-mist humidifier.

Drink through a straw or suck on candy. Inhaling air and the motion of sucking on candy or chewing gum can help pop the ears and relieve congestion.

Clear your nose to help unplug the ears. Blow your nose to break up and get rid of trapped mucus from the common cold or sinus issues. Blowing can quickly pop the ears and restore hearing.

Things You'll Need

  • Decongestant
  • Wet cloth
  • Humidifier
  • Straw
  • Candy
  • Gum
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About the Author

Valencia Higuera is a freelance writer from Chesapeake, Virginia. She has contributed content to print publications and online publications such as Sidestep.com, AOL Travel, Work.com and ABC Loan Guide. Higuera primarily works as a personal finance, travel and medical writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/journalism from Old Dominion University.