July 28, 2016

Removing Earwax Buildup

Earwax buildup is an annoying but extremely common issue. Your ears are designed to remove earwax without any intervention but sometimes there’s just too much, or it’s taking too long. Buildup can cause an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, difficulty hearing, and itchiness. Nobody wants to deal with annoying symptoms like that! It’s very tempting to go digging with cotton swabs and other small objects no matter how often doctors tell you not to. There is a very real possibility of hurting your eardrums and causing actual hearing loss when your ears already feel so miserable.

The good news is, you can definitely remove ear wax without damaging your hearing. The bad news is, many people use dangerous methods and end up pushing the ear wax further into their ear canals or worse. Your hearing is precious and you definitely don’t want to risk losing it over some pesky, excessive ear wax no matter how icky it feels. Get earwax out the safe way and you won’t have to worry about treating any worse problems later.

Basic Rules of Safe Earwax Removal

What To Do When Removing Earwax

  1. Do appreciate earwax’s protective effects on your ears. It’s your body’s way of preventing infections from germs and dust entering your delicate inner ear. It also reduces irritation from water when swimming or bathing.
  2. Do use a few drops of warm mineral oil dripped into your ear for a gentle removal. It will soften the wax and allow it to drain out after lying on your side with a cotton ball above the affected ear.
  3. Do go to your doctor if build-up seems excessive, you can’t remove it on your own, or you think you might have an ear infection so you can get it treated before things get any worse. Ear infections are no fun at all.
  4. Do pour drops of hydrogen peroxide or approved ear drops for this purpose, just a small amount, in your ear before you begin your usual hygiene routine. You can do this by using an eyedropper or soaking a cotton ball and placing it gently over the affected ear. This will loosen and liquefy the excess wax bothering you, and it will rinse out safely and without further effort when you shower. Warning: The peroxide will bubble and tingle, which can be a very weird sensation. Hopefully, this will be what kind of ear wax removal works for you, as it can be easily done at home with something many people keep around.
  5. Do use the oh so popular cotton swab or even just a washcloth to clean the outer ear and ear wax that comes out of the canal on its own.

What Not To Do When Removing Earwax

  1. Do not insert a cotton swab or any other small object like a hairpin directly into your ear. You could cause serious injury and permanently wreck your hearing. While doctors may use small tools to scrape out an ear wax impaction, they’re professionals trained for the job. They have the experience, sterile tools, and other instruments needed to get a better look at what they’re doing and avoid any trouble that you just don’t have as an individual at home. You can’t exactly look into your own ear while you’re digging around in there. Let the pros do it instead.
  2. Do not become obsessive about cleaning earwax from your ears. Earwax is a good thing, and it has its benefits. Constant, unnecessary cleaning can cause your ears to build up more wax since it disrupts the natural removal process. So, even if you think its gross, you should learn not to remove too much.
  3. Do not bother with ear candling. It hasn’t been proven to help by any reputable sources and will likely be a waste of time and money at best that leaves you with ears no cleaner than before. At worst, ear candling can cause burns and eardrum injuries. Like with many things, you’re better off keeping things simple.

Sources:

Earwax Symptoms, Causes, and Removal – WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ear-wax

Earwax blockage – Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/earwax-blockage/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20018904

Ear Wax – American Hearing Research Foundation. http://american-hearing.org/disorders/ear-wax/

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