Audiology Advances,Ear Wax Removal Resources

How to Safely Clean Your Ears at Home

Earwax (cerumen) is a naturally-occurring substance that helps keep your ears clean by sealing off bacteria-filled spaces inside them, such as your ear canal. Chewing or jaw movement usually removes it.

Earwax build-up can lead to hearing issues and should be professionally removed by a physician or audiologist; here are a few tips on safely cleaning your ears at home.

Cotton Swabs

As soon as you were old enough to begin your own morning bathroom routine, your mom (or Lena Dunham in season 2 of Girls) likely warned you about the perils of inserting anything into your ear canal. Cotton swabs (commonly referred to as Q-Tips) may be readily available in both medicine cabinets and drugstore aisles, yet if used improperly they could actually cause more harm than good.

Earwax (cerumen) is a self-cleaning agent that collects dirt and debris in your ear canal before naturally working its way out via chewing, jaw movement or other body functions. Inserting cotton swabs directly into the canal could further push earwax with its accompanying bacteria deeper into your ear canal, potentially leading to infection or even rupture of your eardrum.

Cotton swabs can be detrimental to both your health and the environment. Each year, millions of plastic-stemmed cotton swabs–such as those sold under the brand Q-Tips in stores–are used, flushed down the drain or otherwise discarded into marine environments and become microplastics that enter marine food chains; reaching larger species like whales, dolphins and fish as they make their way back up the food chain.

There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to cotton swabs, including reusable versions made of quality renewable materials like bamboo. Look for soft and absorbent hypoallergenic chlorine-free fragrance-free options such as organic cotton packs with their own travel cases – these might make the best swabs ever.

Or try these hygienic, reusable swabs from Aodesy that feature both ends encased with wads of medical-grade silicone, making them both hygienic and convenient to use around the home – their slim, portable case makes them easy for cleaning ears or other hard-to-reach spots around your house – over 1000 uses can make these an economical alternative to plastic disposable ones! Plus you can purchase bulk quantities to reduce shipping emissions and save money.

Ear Candles

Though gross in appearance, earwax plays an essential role in your health. It functions as a natural cleanser as it moves out from the inner ears toward the exterior ear canal, picking up debris and dead skin cells along the way. Earwax can also prevent infections by decreasing build-ups of fungus and bacteria in your ears; unfortunately it can build up and block your canal without regular cleaning; using inappropriate items can also cause it to build back up and cause further irritation to both eardrums and surrounding skin!

Ear candling has quickly become one of the more popular methods of cleaning out earwax. Ear candles are hollow cones made of fabric covered in wax (usually beeswax, paraffin wax or soy wax). Their pointed end is placed into your external ear canal while lying down while lying sideways; as it burns it supposedly creates a vacuum effect to draw out debris and buildup from inside your ear canal while its wide part lights, causing it to produce a vacuum effect and pulls out debris that buildup inside. Ear candling providers often show their customers evidence of dark gray material buildup within their candle’s stub which they claim contains buildup from wax and other contaminants within.

However, no evidence supports their medical value and the practice has been linked with injuries such as punctured eardrums. Furthermore, due to concerns over safety concerns regarding these candles being sold by manufacturers. As a result, FDA issued warnings and banned sales.

Instead of sticking anything smaller than an elbow into your ear canal, try dripping some baby oil, mineral oil or glycerin into it to soften wax and make removal easier with cotton balls or Q-Tips. Or you could flush your ears out using lukewarm water by holding your head over a sink or shower and tilting your head so the excess fluid drains from the canal – be careful not to overdo this though as too much liquid in can push deeper into your ear canal and cause an ache.

Ear Irrigation Kits

Your mom probably warned you from an early age not to put anything in your ears, and this advice remains accurate today. Sticking objects in your ears can cause earwax buildup that pushes deeper into the canal, impairing hearing. While earwax serves a useful function in protecting against dirt and bacteria buildup, when it accumulates it can be unpleasant – there are safe ways of cleaning your ears at home!

Ear irrigation kits provide an effective and safe method for safely dislodging excess earwax, with various models available to choose from. Some rely on a mixture of water and mineral oil to soften your wax while others include rubber bulb syringes that you can use to inject liquid directly into the canal and tilting your head will force the water and wax out with it.

Hydrogen peroxide-based ear irrigation kits are among the safest options, being easily purchased and used without needing a valid prescription. As you irrigate, hydrogen peroxide dissolves wax more easily so it can fall out. Other products, like glycerin, may also work to break down and remove earwax effectively.

No matter which earwax removal product you select, it is vital that you follow its instructions closely. Over-cleaning can damage your ears and lead to tinnitus; thus it’s best to only use these kits when necessary.

If you prefer plastic loop kits over spray bottles or have an allergy to hydrogen peroxide, there are also cheaper plastic loop kits available. Although they have lower prices tag it is still important to approach them with caution as these tools may remove earwax more efficiently but could still potentially damage eardrum or canal.

Earwax is a natural and healthy substance produced by your body to protect and lubricate the ears, but too much earwax can become uncomfortable, leading to itching or even hearing loss. For safe ear cleaning it’s recommended visiting a physician or audiologist if there are concerns regarding your levels; they will offer solutions tailored specifically for your individual situation.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide may seem strangely counterintuitive to traditional health measures, but this DIY hack can work wonders for your ear health. Hydrogen peroxide can loosen problematic earwax buildup, flush it out if there’s mild impaction or buildup and reduce infection risks.

Hydrogen peroxide is an inexpensive and highly effective mild antiseptic that can quickly kill germs and bacteria. The oxidation process helps break down microorganisms’ cells while breaking down earwax or dead skin cells – two processes which may help prevent infections of any kind in ears or skin cells.

Hydrogen peroxide can be easily found at pharmacies and stores that carry personal care products, and is safe for use as one of many home remedies to clean ears.

Friedman-Negrin, an account on TikTok, shared an innovative way of cleaning ears at home using 3% hydrogen peroxide. She demonstrated this technique by dropping several drops into her ear canal and tilting it from side-to-side until hearing crackling or bubbling noises, which indicates wax softening.

Although this method may seem straightforward, experts do not endorse or recommend it as an effective means of clearing away earwax build-up. While some individuals swear by it, many doctors disagree: earwax should act to protect a person’s ear canal from dust and other debris and should ooze out or fall off on its own over time or be washed off in the shower; according to Health experts.

If your earwax persists, otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists) offer professional removal or steaming solutions. Be wary of using cotton swabs or any small or pointy objects as these can push more wax deeper into your ear canal, leading to blockages.

If you’re prone to ear infections, be sure to discuss with your physician taking regular antibiotics as this can prevent germs from entering and leading to painful buildup of earwax and infection. Also discuss with them trying a new form of treatment such as an ear bulb syringe designed to flush away stubborn wax more effectively without harming other areas of the ear canal.

About the Author

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Ben Horlock Audiologist

Ben Horlock RHAD MHSAA, is an accomplished audiologist deeply committed to delivering remarkable audiological services.

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