Although having some ear wax inside your ears is beneficial, an excessive buildup of ear wax may cause infections, earaches, or worse symptoms. Knowing how to perform proper ear wax removal is critical for safe and effective results. You can opt for the do-it-yourself methods or, better yet, consult with a medical professional to remove your ear wax. If you’re searching for the best experts in the field, we recommend searching the Corus Advantage directory.
If you’re wondering what the best way to remove ear wax is, this is the right article for you. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn some essential techniques for removing ear wax without causing damage to your ears or overall health. You will also learn about other popular removal methods that may cause more harm than good.
How do you fix a clogged ear and what is the best way to remove excessive ear wax? Keep reading to find out.
First Thing’s First, What is Ear Wax?
Before jumping straight into the techniques for ear wax removal, let’s clarify what ear wax actually is. Ear wax, or cerumen, is a naturally occurring substance in the body that protects the ears. Since ear wax has antibacterial and lubricating properties, small amounts are needed for proper hearing and health. However, if the buildup becomes excessive and you don’t treat it on time, you may risk irritation, dizziness, hearing loss, ear pain, and ringing in your ears.
Fortunately, you can remove excessive ear wax at home or at the doctor’s office if the situation calls for it. Contrary to what some people may think (that ear wax occurs deep inside one’s ear), your body produces ear wax in the outer part of your ear canal. This substance consists of hair and dead skin cells mixed with the discharge from the glands.
It’s important to keep in mind that not every individual will require special techniques to achieve clean ears. Our bodies are intricate and our ears can clean themselves. However, ear wax blockage and buildup may occur if a person uses bobby pins, cotton swabs, or other items to achieve clean ears. Instead of actually cleaning your ears, these items push the ear wax deep within the ears, causing potential injuries. When in doubt, seek out expert guidance and assistance.
The Negative Effects of Excessive Ear Wax
Untreated ear wax blockage and buildup may cause serious medical conditions, such as hearing loss and infection. Patients with milder cases may just have to deal with a clogged ear, but others might need intense treatment. Excessive ear wax buildup could make it challenging to see into your ear, so potential issues could also go undiagnosed.
Below, find the most common symptoms of a clogged ear:
- Tinnitus (Ringing, buzzing, hissing, or roaring sound in one or both ears)
- Muffled hearing
- Pain in the ear
- A “blocking” feeling deep in your ear
- Itching in the ear
- Hearing loss
What is the Best Way to Remove Ear Wax?
Hopefully now you understand the importance of having clean ears. Again, cleaning your ears might not be necessary for you since ears are self-cleaning. However, if you’re experiencing any of these more serious side effects, you may need additional treatments and it is suggested that you consult a medical expert in some cases. Alternatively, you can try the following at-home, expert-approved remedies.
Use a Bulb Syringe
According to some health experts, one of the best ways to remove ear wax is with a quality bulb syringe. You can get these devices in grocery stores or drug stores and use them to flush out your ears. To get clean ears, you’ll want to start by filling the bulb syringe with lukewarm water and placing it close to the ear opening. Next, slowly squeeze the bulb to allow the water to flood the ear. As a result, the water should effectively break up the ear wax.
Make sure to turn your head to the side over a bathtub or sink to let the liquid flow out.
Here are some additional tips for removing ear wax with this method:
- Watch the water temperature: Very hot or very cold water may damage your ear canal or make you feel dizzy. Use lukewarm water and always triple-check the temperature before putting the liquid into your ear.
- Do it slowly and gently: Our ears are sensitive, so flushing it out carefully will help avoid eardrum damage.
- If you underwent eardrum surgery or have pre-existing eardrum damage: This may not be the best option for you as this method may cause more harm than good.
Consider Over-the-Counter Ear Wax Removal Drops
Another recommended way to remove ear wax for some people is with an effective over-the-counter ear cleaner. For maximum results, we suggest purchasing drops with hydrogen peroxide (or other types of peroxide).
Ear wax removal drops are easy to use, and typically, all you need to do is lay on your side and make sure the ear you are cleaning is facing up. Add the cleaning drops according to the instructions. After adding the drops, you will want to allow the solution to remain in your ear for approximately five minutes. By letting it sit in your ear, the liquid will soften the wax.
Finally, place a tissue on your ear and sit up. Allow the substance to flow onto the tissue and the ear wax.
Although ear cleaning drops are an effective ear wax removal method, they may be useless for people with impacted cerumen, a condition when you have too much ear wax and your ear canal become blocked. Placing hydrogen peroxide into an ear with impacted cerumen may cause additional damage. If you are dealing with serious ear wax problems, consult a medical expert before attempting any at-home methods.
Try Olive or Mineral Oil
Although placing olive or mineral oil into one’s ear may sound unusual, some experts believe it is one of the most effective ways to remove ear wax. However, we suggest checking in with your doctor before trying this method.
Ear Wax Removal Methods to Avoid
Now you know what you should do in order to remove excessive ear wax, but what are the improper methods to avoid? Here are the two no-go’s when it comes to cleaning your ears:
Cotton swabs might be the most popular choice for removing ear wax buildup. However, did you know that cotton swabs may cause more damage than good for your hearing?
When you place a cotton swab into your ear canal, you’re only pushing the wax deeper in. So, the more often you use cotton swabs, the more wax you push inside your ear. Additionally, you may cause a rupture of the eardrum if you push the wax too far, and if you are not gentle and you scratch the ear canal, you may cause a severe infection.
Ear Wax Removal Candles
Although candle ear wax removal is trending nowadays, the approach may cause severe damage to your hearing. Not only are they are an ineffective way to remove wax, but they can also burn you.
As such, you may be better off to avoid candle ear wax removal.
When is Removing Ear Wax Necessary?
Although ear wax is typically harmless, keeping your ears clean is vital for better hearing and overall health. If these home remedies are ineffective, consult a medical expert for a professional evaluation. You may require professional ear wax removal if you have trouble hearing properly or if you are experiencing other side effects related to an impacted cerumen.
Book an Appointment Today
If you’re worried about your ear health and hearing, we’re here to help. Reach out to a Corus Advantage affiliated physician and schedule an appointment today.