Earwax is a natural and healthy substance that is vital to our ear’s defenses. It is not advised that you clean your ears unless you have an earwax blockage.
Never attempt to swab out excessive or hardened earwax with objects such as a cotton swab or a hairpin as this can damage your eardrums and lead to serious infections.
If you do feel like you have an earwax blockage it is advised that you visit your doctor. However, in some mild cases of a blockage, there are some things you can do at home to get remove earwax and get some relief.
Why do we produce earwax?
Our ears create earwax to protect and lubricate our ears. If we did not produce it our ears would feel itchy and dry. Sometimes we feel obliged to clean our ears, but as our ears have anti-bacterial properties, they clean themselves. Earwax is an essential filter for your ears and stops harmful entities like dust and dirt from going inside our ears.
The reason you may have an earwax blockage is if you have tried to clean your ears with a cotton swab and pushed the wax in deeper.
A recent study showed that 68 percent of participants used cotton swabs to clean their ears. However using swabs or pointy objects can be detrimental to your eardrum and cause infections, hearing loss or the rupture of the eardrum.
When should you clean your ears?
Since our ears clean themselves, you should not clean your ear canals. However, if there is a big build-up of earwax and it starts to feel painful, or you start to feel symptoms such as:
- Plugged or fullness in the affected ear
- Ringing or noises in the ear (tinnitus)
- Loss of hearing
It is recommended that you see your doctor for an ear exam. If you feel any of these symptoms you may have something called cerumen impaction. This kind of earwax build-up is uncommon but can happen.
How to Remove Earwax at Home
If you feel like your ear canal is blocked, you should probably not attempt to clear out the wax on your own. Visit your doctor or a specialist to get a check-up.
However, if the case is mild you may be able to treat the block-up at home. Here is a safe guide on how to remove earwax and get some relief.
Step 1 : Check for infections
Before proceeding make sure you have no infections or tears in your eardrum.
Step 2: Use warm water to soften the wax
Firstly, run warm water or a saline solution through your ear canal. After a couple of minutes, the water will soften up the earwax so that it can drain out.
Tip: You also can try putting a few drops of baby oil, hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil, or glycerine in your ear to soften the wax.
Step 3: Dry your ear canal
Another method of doing this is tilting your head in the shower and allowing some water to go into the ear canal. To make this easier, you can also use an ear irrigation kit.
Next dab the opening of your ear with a clean cloth. This should collect the liquid from your ear.
Tip: A natural and effective way to help old earwax leave your ear canal is by moving your jaw in a chewing motion. When the wax comes up to the ear opening, it will dry up and fall out.
If you believe you have an infection or blockage then a wax removal is most safely done by a doctor.
Your eardrum is delicate and can easily be damaged so do not stick anything in your ear to get the wax out yourself especially if you have had ear surgery, have a hole in your eardrum, or are having ear pain or drainage.
Here is a video demonstrating how Dr. Jennifer Caudle is able to properly remove earwax at home without inserting a cotton swab in the ear.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.