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The middle ear is connected to the throat via the Eustachian tube, aka the auditory canal. The canal may become clogged with mucus from sinus cavities, caused by excess mucus from allergies and colds and sinusitis. Swelling in the nasal, head and ear sinuses is common. If swelling occurs in the ear sinuses or Eustachian tube, mucus or even pus can become trapped there, causing a feeling of swollen, clogged, plugged, sore, congested ears, poor hearing, or even a feeling of water sloshing deep in the head. This solution can be done at home and relieves Eustachian tube swelling so that the mucus can drain naturally.
- Buy a neti pot at the local drug store. Saline rinse is not required, use distilled water(Or boil your tap water). You can buy saline packets or rinse to use or make your own saline (salt water) if you prefer. Tap water is harsh on the sinuses, and may contain microorganisms; please boil your tap water before using your Neti pot.
- Buy a nasal relief spray Find a nasal spray that contains phenylephrine. You can get this over the counter at the local grocery or drug store. Phenylephrine spray is good for congestion.
- Prepare an area at the kitchen or bathroom sink. Have a towel nearby to wipe up with, this can be messy. Have a box of tissues or a handkerchief to blow your nose with (a lot). Set out your neti pot and read the instructions.
- Practice cleaning your nasal sinuses with the neti pot using saline and distilled water. See the video below for more details. When you can rinse your nasal cavity easily with the neti pot, and have the water run cleanly in one nostril and out the other, with out stopping, you are ready to proceed.
- Fill the neti pot 1/2 way with very warm, almost even hot water, or saline, about 1 cup.
- Add 10 drops of nasal spray to the neti pot and swish to mix well.
- Begin pouring the solution into your nasal cavity.
- Right after the solution begins to drain out of your other nostril, plug your nose with your hand by squeezing your nostrils shut as if swimming under water. Your sinuses will be filled with solution now.
- At this point you will hold your breath, so the rest is done rather quickly. You must use the back of your tongue to plug the spot in the back of your throat where your nose and nasal sinus drains into your throat.
- You might want to practice that before getting to this step so you can do it when the time comes. Try pressing the back of your tongue up and backwards into your throat, and then it stops up your nose and throat so you hold your breath. That will prevent the rinse from draining out of your sinuses into your throat while you tip your head around.
- Set down the neti pot and keep your nostrils squeezed tight. Be prepared to feel your ears 'pop' during the next steps. You may also feel a quick mild or sharp pain when the liquid reaches your inner ear canal as it is not used to feeling this, but it is not harming it. It is no different than using nasal spray in your nose. The sinus cavities are all the same no matter where they are in your head but the ear canal one is not easy to reach by simply inhaling nasal spray.
- Tip your head back and look at the ceiling, and hold until count of 10.
- Hold your head up normally (keep your nose plugged the whole time) then tip your head to the side so one ear faces the ground, hold for count of 10. You should feel the liquid traveling around inside your sinus cavities. Do not worry, it cannot go any where else.
- Tip your head to the other side, by rolling your neck around smoothly, so the other ear faces the ground, hold for count of 10.
- Now lean forward as if you were going to touch your toes so your head is upside down. Hold to count of 10.
- Now stand up straight, and then lean over the sink and let go of your nose. The rinse will drain out.
- Begin blowing your nose.. but NOT too hard! Very lightly or you can develop problems with fluid in your middle ear.
- Do the Valsalva Maneuver. That means to equalize pressure in your ear drums. Plug your nose and "exhale" through your ears to pop them like you would when flying or scuba diving.
- Blow your nose forcefully some more.
- By now, the swelling should be going away in your Eustachian tubes, as the nasal spray works pretty quickly to reduce swelling in the tissue and membranes. And the fluid that was trapped in there should be coming out when you blow your nose. It may possibly drain down your throat later too. Your ear should be unclogged and you can hear immediately. It is very possible to have large amounts of green or yellow or white mucus come out if both ears were clogged and full of liquid. This can be from sinus or ear infections and it is pus and infection fluid and mucus. It can seem like cups of mucus and that is not unusual as all of it was trapped inside your head and now the swelling of the Eustachian tube has been reduced, it is able to flow out properly.
VideoThe video above shows how to use a neti pot. Follow this link to see My YouTube Video Instructions showing how to hold solution in sinuses and swish.
- Read these instructions over first before attempting this as it is rather complex. You might even want to do a dry run or two before actually using water.
- Practice the neti pot first, before attempting to move the rinse into your middle ear.
- If this does not relieve your ear pressure and you are sure that it is from sinus swelling in the Eustachian tube, then try it again, and this time, try pressurizing your ear drums while the solution is in your deep ear sinuses after tipping your head all around, this will force solution deep into your ear canals. This may cause more discomfort momentarily but it will go away and you will be thankful if it relieves your clogged ears.
- If swelling and mucus in the inner ear is not your problem, this will not work for you. You could have ear wax in the outer ear, and ear infection, or other issues. Please consult your doctor.
- If you have ever gone to the doctor to have your ear drum lanced, to allow fluid to drain, this solution could work for you instead. This does the same thing but from the inside. This can even work for kids with recurring ear problems if you can get them to do it.
- Using the medicated nasal spray OPENS the passage the same way it opens clogged nasal passages. If you rub your finger outside your nose on the bridge, you can get some air in. Blowing your nose helps for about 5 minutes, then it is clogged right back up. This is the same exact thing going on in the Eustachian tube. The medicated nasal spray makes the swelling go away in the membranes so the clogged mucus can come out. It may come back a little, like your stuffy nose would after nasal spray use, so you may have to repeat the process for a few days if you are in an active allergy flare up.
Things You'll Need
- Neti pot nasal irrigator
- Saline solution, or warm tap water
- Medicated Nasal spray (4 Way in a red bottle is the most effective)
- Facial tissues
- How to Drain Ear Fluid
- How to Prevent Seasickness
- How to Have Keen Hearing
- How to Avoid Car Sickness
- How to Prepare for a Long Plane Ride
Sources and Citations
- Original Source of the Clogged Ear Cure by Tiffany Cady Moore
- Correct Use of Nasal Sprays for Eustachian Tube Dysfunction by Fauquier ENT Consultants
- Clogged Inner Eustachian Tube Home Cure