How to open a blocked ear

Updated April 17, 2017

Eustachian tubes are the passageways between your nose and your middle ears, and when they become blocked, your ears feel plugged up. Your eardrums cannot vibrate so your sense of hearing becomes dulled and you may experience ear pain.

This is usually a temporary problem caused by the inflammation brought on by a cold or allergies. In most cases, medication is not needed; But, if the pain becomes intolerable or if the blockage lasts longer than a day, you should see a physician.

Breath in deeply. Close your mouth and pinch your nostrils shut. Blow the breath out, attempting to force open your eustachian tubes. If it works, you will hear or feel a popping sound.

Take an oral decongestant, if your ears are still plugged. Designed to reduce nasal and sinus congestion caused by hay fever, decongestants can have side effects ranging from headaches, insomnia and dizziness to irregular heartbeat and increased blood pressure. Check with your doctor if you are taking other medications as it can be dangerous to take decongestants with some medications.

Spray a nasal antihistamine up your nostrils if the problem continues. Nasal antihistamines can help when experiencing ear blockages brought on by allergies. The body produces the histamine chemical to combat foreign substances such as pollen or dust, causing inflammation and allergic reactions. Antihistamines block the histamine receptor sites and reduce inflammation.

Common side effects of nasal antihistamines can include drowsiness, dizziness, bitter taste and sneezing.

See your doctor if the condition persists. They may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist who might use ventilation tubes to drain your ears and relieve the pressure.

Things You'll Need

  • Nasal spray antihistamines
  • Oral decongestants
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About the Author

Taylor Patrick has been writing more than 10 years. She has written freelance articles, as well as provided marketing and copy writing services to nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Patrick has a journalism arts diploma and a Bachelor of Arts in general humanities from the University of Calgary.