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How to treat a plugged ear

Written By northidahodpc

How to treat a plugged ear

December 21, 2011

What is a reasonable approach to a plugged ear?  Do you always need a medical evaluation?   Not necessarily.  If the plugged ear is accompanied by pain, fever and/or dizziness, a physician should be consulted.  However, many times there are no other symptoms, and in these cases, ear wax impaction and eustachian tube dysfunction are the most common causes.   A course of home therapy in these cases is reasonable.

Try a trial of either wax removal or eustachian tube treatment for a week, then if unsuccessful at unplugging the ear, switch therapies.  If still unsuccessful, seek medical evaluation.  When using an ear wax softening agent (as shown in photo), fill the ear canal and let it soak for at least 30 minutes, keeping the medication in place with the use of a cotton ball.  Follow with water irrigation, using the bulb syringe provided.  This should be done twice a day.  Eustachian tube dysfunction is usually caused by allergies and/or a viral infection.  Antihistamines such as Zyrtec or Benedryl and decongestants like Sudafed, when used as directed alone or in combination, often resolve symptoms…Richard R Samuel, MD     Family Practice and Urgent Care   Hayden, ID  USA

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