Earwax is a naturally-occurring substance that is an important part of your body’s defenses. Your earwax cleans, lubricates, and protects your ear canal from dirt and slows down bacteria growth. However, earwax can often result in ear blockages, especially when people try to clean their ears using cotton buds or other items. Doing so pushes the earwax further into the ear, causing serious damage to the eardrum or ear canal lining.
Should You Clean Your Ears?
You might think that it would be disgusting not to clean your ears, but the fact is that your ear canals do not need cleaning. However, sometimes too much earwax builds up in your ear that starts to cause certain symptoms or prevents your doctor from conducting a thorough ear exam. This condition is known as cerumen impaction, and can happen in one or both ears.
Symptoms of Cerumen Impaction
There are some obvious signs and symptoms of cerumen impaction or earwax blockage.
- Fullness in the impacted ear
- Ringing noises in the ear
- Decreased or compromised hearing ability
It is important to note that these symptoms may also indicate another condition. While you can generally deal with earwax on your own, there’s no way you can deal with the symptoms of excessive ear wax until your doctor looks in your ears. Also, sometimes, symptoms such as earache or decreased hearing doesn’t necessary mean that you have cerumen impaction. It is quite possible that you have another medical condition concerning your ears.
Best Home Ear Wax Removal Methods
While cleaning your eardrums is not the best idea, you should certainly consider removing your ear wax from time to time to avoid the chances of impaction. Here are a few of the best home ear wax removal methods.
The first home remedy to get rid of earwax includes the use of baking soda. All you need is half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 2 ounces of warm water. You can put this solution in a dropper bottle if you have one. Now, you must tilt your head on the side and then gently drop 5 to 10 drops of this solution into your ear; make sure to only put one drop at a time. You can then leave the solution in your ear for up to an hour before flushing it out with water. This remedy must be done once a day for a couple of days until the earwax clears up. However, it mustn’t be done for any longer than two weeks.
Another great home remedy to get rid of earwax includes the use of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. All you need to do is to slightly tilt your head to the side and put 5-10 drops of hydrogen peroxide into your ear. Make sure to maintain your head in a tilted position for at least five minutes to allow the substance to penetrate the earwax properly. This process should be repeated once a day for a maximum of two weeks, and it’s best to stop when you think you’ve successfully gotten rid of the earwax.
Earwax is a greasy oil-like substance. Therefore, when some oils come into contact with earwax, they may soften it, making it easier to get rid of it. The most popular oils used to remove earwax include olive oil, coconut oil, mineral oil, baby oil, and glycerin.
Using oil for earwax removal is a very simple process. While you can use oil at room temperature, it’s preferable to make it slightly warm. Avoid warming the oil in the microwave and always check the temperature before dropping it in your ear. Once warm, you must pour the oil into a dropper bottle. Now, tilt your head to the side and drip a couple of drops into your ear. You need to keep your head tilted to the side for about 5 minutes. This process must be repeated once or twice a day for the best results.
Some light pressure of water flushing can be a great way to dislodge earwax. You can easily find rubber bulbs in the market that are specifically made for ear cleaning. This bulb must be filled with warm water, and you must stand over a sink or basin, keeping your head tilted. You can then gently squeeze the bulb to let out squirts of warm water into your ear. You must allow the water to run down the basin while looking for any visible pieces of earwax.
Irrigation is a viable method that can either be used on its own or it can be combined with any of the aforementioned home remedies. Remember that you should perform irrigation around 5 to 15 minutes after you use any of the above methods.
Earwax Removal Methods to Avoid
Not all ear wax removal methods work the same. Even though earwax removal is safe to do at home, sometimes it requires the attention of a medical professional. In case any of the above home remedies don’t work for you, it’s best to visit your doctor; never take the risk of using the following methods to remove earwax.
The main problem is that most people don’t know how to use cotton swabs properly. Cotton swabs are made to clean the outer, visible portion of your ear, not your ear canal. Even though they look safe for insertion into your ears, they are actually too small to be used safely inside the ear and can cause damage.
The tip of the cotton swab pushes earwax deeper inside your ear, which results in wax accumulations. Moreover, another potential problem is that you may rupture your eardrum if you push it too far down.
Earwax Removal Candles
Many people have started using ear candles to get rid of earwax. However, there is much concern that this technique isn’t the best choice as it can cause burns and punctured eardrums.
One of the worst things you can do is attempt to clean your earwax using small objects such as bobby pins and pen caps. According to most doctors, you must never put anything in your eat that is smaller than your elbow.
If you feel like you have or are developing an earwax problem, you should try the above home remedies. However, if these remedies don’t work for you, it’s best to check with your doctor.