Ear infection can often occur after a cold or respiratory infection. At other times it will seemingly occur without cause. This then causes a build up of fluid which collects in the middle ear which is the space behind the ear drum. That in turn causes the Eustachian tube (which connects the inner ear to the throat) to become plugged thus preventing the fluid from draining. Symptoms of fluid in the ear then are: mild discomfort, severe pain as the fluid pushes against the ear drum and/or lack of hearing that sounds as though you are ‘underwater’ in one or both ears.

This can be unpleasant and distracting and many people find it a constant irritation. Most physicians will recommend simply waiting it out, but in severe cases they might provide you with antibiotics to treat the infection, or use tubes to drain the ear drum or minor surgery from an ENT doctor (ear, nose and throat) which will involve a small incision to drain the fluid. There are several ways however that you can encourage your ears to unclog at home which we will look at hear.

Note: Before trying any of these home remedies you should first see a physician. While in most cases fluid in the ear is a sign of infection, in rare cases it can be a symptom of tumour so it is important to get it inspected by an expert.

Hot Packs

A hot pack pressed against your ear can be a great way to ease the pain. To achieve this, try using a warm flannel or heating up some rice tied into a sock.

Ear Drops

Many ear drops are designed to neutralise fluid that collects in the ear but you should check with your doctor before using any. To use them, drip just a couple of drops into your ear while lying on your other side (so it doesn’t run straight back out) and then close the end with some cotton wool.

Use Decongestants

Taking decongestants can sometimes help with ear fluid build up and many of these can be purchased over the counter. Again though check with your doctor before beginning any new course in medication. This can help the fluid to drain out of the Eustachian tube and nose.

Waiting Out

Unfortunately for many of us the only cure is time and this can take up to 9 months. Lying on your side when you sleep, and drinking plenty of water while maintaining a good diet however can help to speed up the process.


  1. I think it was a pretty good site, informative enough. My boyfriend has been dealing with his ear being clogged for about a week and is very irritable, thanks for the information!

  2. This is a child's version of "what is water in the ear?". The advice given was either; see your doctor, or wait 9 months and see what happens. Understandable, but not very helpful.

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