Too much earwax blockage can lead to severe hearing problems and embarrassment if the earwax is visible to the person sitting next. The human ear has the exceptional ability to clean itself. Still, once the uncomfortable buildup of ear wax (cerumen) is produced, it may lead to many hearing complications.
A cotton swab is vital in almost every home, as several people prefer using it to remove ear wax. Some people do not even clean their ear wax, believing it might harm their ear canals or ear drums.
Putting any random stick or oil inside the ear to clean it is not recommended by doctors as it can be damaging if it comes into contact with the ear drums. So how to pull the ear wax out safely?
This is a significant concern for many. Let’s find out the causes of ear wax and methods on how to remove stubborn ear wax at home.
How to Remove Earwax at Home?
If you experience ear wax blockages in any of your ears, it is recommended to consult your doctor to avoid any further discomfort. Healthcare practitioners often discourage using cotton swabs or any pointy object to remove the earwax blockage, as the procedure can be painful sometimes.
However, if the buildup is not serious, you can try some effective home remedies to get rid of it easily.
1. Baking Soda and Water
- Mix the solution thoroughly with two ounces of lukewarm water and half a tablespoon of baking soda.
- Transfer the solution into a dropper.
- Gently put one drop at a time inside the blocked ear.
- Wash your ears after an hour and repeat the procedure daily for one to two weeks.
Baking soda is not only beneficial to remove ear wax, but it also helps to lighten armpits. Read a detailed guide on how to lighten armpits with baking soda.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide Solution
Hydrogen Peroxide has some exceptional antibacterial properties that help clean the wax out of the ear.
- Put a tiny cotton ball into Hydrogen Peroxide.
- Drip it inside the blocked ear while the opening of the ear is directed upwards.
- Keep your head titled in the same position for a few minutes till the fluid moves deeper toward the wax.
- Change the position and tilt your head in the other direction so the fluid drains out along with the wax.
You can use hydrogen peroxide for nail fungus removal, also.
3. Essential Oils
Plenty of essential oils are available in the market that softens the wax buildup and are medically tested to give your ears proper relief from infections and blockages. Some essential oils that work great in breaking down the cerumen buildup are glycerin, baby oil, coconut oil, olive oil, garlic oil, etc.
4. Water Flushing
Water flushing or irrigation works excellently in terms of wax removal.
- Take an ear-cleaning syringe and fill it with clean lukewarm water.
- Put a clean tower beneath your ear and tilt your head.
- Press the syringe inside the blocked ear.
- Let the water rush out of the ear directly onto the towel.
- The ear wax breaks down in pieces and comes out due to water flushing.
5. OTC Ear Drops
There are many ear wax removal drops that work effectively in breaking down the cerumen buildup. The water-based drops comprise sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide, which help soften the stubborn wax earlier.
Causes of Ear Wax
Do not feel bad if cerumen or ear wax is accumulated inside your ears. This naturally produced substance helps lubricate your ears and protects them from harmful bacteria entering inside. We know that the human body needs proper moisture, and to cater to this need, it tends to produce natural moisture to keep itself hydrated.
Similarly, the ear also retains moisture by producing a sticky substance that is slightly wet. The mixture makes ear wax when the secretions from the sweat glands and sebaceous glands are combined with dust, dead cells, and debris.
Due to the production of wax, the human ear remains moisturized, and with the antibacterial properties of wax, the ears remain protected from infections. When we chew our food or talk, this wax moves towards the outer ear canal and eventually emerges.
When a person tries to clean his ears with the help of a cotton swab and does it intensely, he instead pushes the ear wax deeper, which results in earwax blockage that is referred to medically as ‘cerumen impaction.’ It also leads to serious ear infections and, in severe cases, results in rupture or damage to the eardrum.
Anyone can have cerumen impaction or earwax blockage, from children to adults, for multiple reasons, including narrower ear canals, intense ear cleaning through a swab, or dry or hairy ear canals. Since the earwax blockage is not visible in some cases, the complications may even worsen.
What Not to Do When Cleaning Ear Wax?
While cleaning ear wax for hygienic purposes is essential, it is equally important not to do excessive digging inside the ear. Pointy objects such as a swab might be considered an easy and accessible way to remove the cerumen, but it is not a healthy practice at all. Some people with sensitive ears may feel the pain once the swab goes inside, stimulating prolonged discomfort.
While trying to pull out the wax with the help of any ear-cleaning tool, sometimes it goes deeper into the ear canal. Also, the cotton swabs stimulate the production of hairs inside the ear, promoting the production of ear wax.
The practice of using ear candles to melt the buildup inside the ear is strictly prohibited by doctors. These candles are inserted inside the ear canal and then lightened, which can seriously burn and damage the outer ear.
Using suction devices to pull out the wax is also ineffective for many people. Some people habitually insert bobby pins into their ears, instantly triggering the infection.
When to Consult a Doctor?
The ear wax is not a complicated concern and usually requires no medical assistance. However, if your doctor recommends the ear exam more frequently, there are chances that you have an earwax blockage on one or both ears. You may sometimes be asked to consult an ENT specialist for a proper ear examination following the consistent ear blockage.
Consulting a doctor should be your top priority whenever you witness pain inside the ear that prolongs and is not recovered. Only a specialist has the expertise to determine if it’s a problem that needs to be treated or something your body can handle independently.
Over-inserting the cleaning devices for ear wax removal can occasionally cause hearing issues and scratchy, uncomfortable ear canals making them more susceptible to infections.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you remove ear wax at home?
You can remove the ear wax at home by dripping a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide inside the ear with the help of a syringe or dropper.
What is the simplest way of unclogging ear wax?
Many medicated ear drops are available that remove ear wax by softening it to unclog the ear wax buildup.
How can I tell if my ear is blocked with wax?
If you feel any hearing complication, earache, or continuous buzzing inside the ears, there are chances that your ears are blocked with ear wax.
What causes excess ear wax?
Some people frequently complain about ear blockage due to wax buildup inside the ears, and a major reason behind it is the ear’s natural ability to produce too much wax. A person with narrow ear canals or too many hairs inside is likelier to have excessive buildup inside the ears.
Is wax in the ear harmful?
If the wax stays inside the ear for longer and is left untreated, there are chances that it will lead to earache, discomfort, or any complication regarding hearing.
Is it healthy to have a lot of earwax?
It is the human ear’s natural ability to produce wax. However, if the ear produces too much wax, it may lead to hearing issues or even pain.
What color should ear wax be?
Ear wax can be of any color range. It can be amber-orange, light brown, yellow, or even dark brown.
What is the consistency of ear wax?
The consistency of ear wax is sticky and wet. However, sometimes, the ears produce ear wax of dry consistency.
What is cerumen impaction?
Cerumen impaction stands for earwax blockage resulting from earwax buildup inside the ears.
What are the symptoms of cerumen impaction?
Continuous pain or discomfort inside the ears, tinnitus, itching, and smelly ears are some of the common symptoms of cerumen impaction.
Read more about tinnitus in this article.
Is wet or dry earwax better?
Dry earwax falls out of the ear more easily than wet earwax and is considered more effective in keeping the ear away from infection. However, it does not mean allowing a dry wax buildup inside the ears, as it may lead to ear blockage.
Why is inside my ear itchy?
If the inside of your ear has started itching, it may be due to a fungal infection, dermatitis, or psoriasis. There could be possible allergic reactions that may result in itching inside the ear.
How often should I clean my ears?
It is recommended to clean your ears after two to four weeks. Avoid washing the ears more frequently as it may affect the ear-protecting layer and allows bacterial invasion into the ear cavity.
Should ear wax be removed?
Earwax should be removed if it is causing any hearing complications. For some people, earwax buildup starts coming out of the ear on its own. However, do not put fingers or any object inside the ears if you want to remove earwax. Rather you may put some almond or olive oil inside the ear so the wax softens and comes out easily.
What is earwax made of?
Earwax results from the secretions of the sebaceous glands at the external ear cavity. When these secretions combine with hair-desquamated keratinocytes, earwax is formed.
What is the best ear wax cleaner?
WaxiWay earwax removal kit, Debrox earwax removal kit, and Elephant ear washer bottle are some of the top-rated ear wax cleaners available in the market.
What is the easiest way to remove ear wax?
Dip cotton balls into a saline solution to remove stubborn ear wax from the ear canal. Tilt your head on one side and drip the soaked cotton balls inside the ear so the wax is dissolved and emerges on its own.
How to remove ear wax blockage fast with water?
If your ear is blocked with earwax, you may unblock it with the help of cotton balls soaked in warm water. Tilt your head and drip a few drops of water-soaked cotton inside the ear to open the blocked ear canal.
How can I tell if my ear is blocked with wax?
If you are suffering from hearing loss, any complication with hearing, discharge coming out of the ear, nose or itching inside the ear, or dizziness, there are high chances that your ear is blocked due to excess earwax.
Is it healthy to have a lot of earwax?
Earwax inside the ear is completely normal and is not related to hygienic problems. However, picking the earwax with fingers or removing it using any object might cause pain or swelling inside the ear canal. People with a lot of earwax buildup inside their ears might suffer from hearing complications or severe pain.
What color should ear wax be?
Earwax should be orange, yellow, or light brown, indicating healthy earwax buildup.
What is the color of unhealthy earwax?
The unhealthy earwax is dark brown or black in color.
How to remove earwax using a showerhead?
Tilt your head in one direction, run some warm water, and turn the head in the other direction so the water flows out of the ear. Use the showerhead from a distance so the water may not get into the ear canal.