what is a clogged ear?


When suffering a clogged ear you have the feeling that the ear is clogged. Sometimes there may also be a feeling of pressure.

A clogged ear can also be associated with (an increase in) ringing in the ears. Since the sound often enters less well, the brain translates that into ringing in the ears. When the ear is open again, the ringing in the ears might decrease. 

what causes a clogged ear?


With the ear clogged. This can have several simple causes:

  • Ear wax can clog the ear and make it feel closed.
  • The eardrum may be retracted by cold
  • There may be water or shampoo in the ear, causing the ear to be clogged.
  • An ear can also be clogged due to pressure differences while driving in the mountains or flying. 
  • Finally, there could be something stuck in the ear such as a cotton ball, piece of a cotton swab or earmold from a hearing aid.

What to do about clogged ears?


  • If there is fluid in the ear, the ear can be made dry by lying on the ear for a while so that the fluid can drain out. You can also remove the moisture with a tissue or you can use a hair dryer. The moisture evaporates due to the warm air.
  • When suffering from a retracted eardrum during pressure difference it can help to equalize. 
  • If the ear is blocked by ear wax , you can have the ear cleaned by a general practitioner or ENT specialist. 

Which medicine for clogged ears?


Medication can help against a clogged ear, but first it must be clear what the cause is.

A closed ear can be reduced by using an anti-inflammatory nasal spray.

If there is an allergy, anti-allergic medicines can help.

clogged ear
Ear wax

What possible conditions can cause a clogged ear?


If the symptoms do not disappear in a few days, it is advisable to consult a doctor. A clogged ear can have many different causes. 

The most common causes are:

When to contact us?


If the GP cannot find a clear cause for the complaint or if the complaints do not disappear within a few days, it is advisable to make an appointment with an ENT specialist as soon as possible. It is very important to quickly find out the cause of the complaint, so that treatment can be started quickly. Sudden deafness, for example, must be treated within 2 weeks of onset.

more information

Dutch Association for ENT Surgery

Ear wax
Sudden deafness


Perceptive hearing impairment
NHG guideline for hearing impairment

Online hearing test


This patient information has been compiled with the utmost care. It concerns general information. No rights can be derived from this information.
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