Eye dropper with solution
Ears are usually self-cleaning: earwax works its way towards the entrance of the ear canal and then falls out or is washed out when you bathe. Sometimes, however, earwax builds up in the canal, usually when a finger or other object inserted into the canal compacts the wax and pushes it deep into the canal. Depending on the amount of wax involved, a buildup of wax can cause ear pain, hearing loss, a feeling of fullness in the ear, or tinnitus (hearing noises in the ear). Most cases of earwax buildup can be resolved with home remedies.
Ear irrigation involves flushing out the ear canal with water to remove any excess earwax. This method is most effective when you first put wax softening drops into your ear to loosen the wax buildup.
You can use mineral oil or baby oil to soften the wax. Using an eyedropper, put a few drops of oil into your ear canal. You’ll want to keep your head tilted to the side for several minutes while the oil sits in your ear canal.
Instead of mineral oil, you can also use a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water. Put a few drops into your ear canal. You will probably experience a bubbling sensation in your ear; keep the solution in place until the bubbling has mostly stopped, usually about ten or twenty minutes.
You can purchase over-the-counter ear drops from your pharmacy. Such drops usually contain carbamide peroxide and may successfully in remove buildup if the hydrogen peroxide or oil fails.
You can repeat these remedies twice a day for four or five days. (In the case of the over-the-counter ear drops, follow the directions on the package.) Once you believe the wax has been softened, try to dislodge the wax using ear irrigation. For the mineral oil, you may want to wait a couple days before irrigating, as the oil may take awhile to soften the wax. In the case of the peroxide, you can try irrigating after your first application, as sometimes only one application is needed to break up the wax.
To irrigate, use a bulb syringe to flush out the ear canal with water. Make sure the water is body temperature, as water that it too cold or hot can cause pain or dizziness. If the oil or peroxide has succeeded in loosening the wax, flushing with water will remove it from the canal.
What Not to Do
Do not try to remove the wax buildup by sticking anything in your ear, such as a cotton swab, a bobby pin or a finger. Such measures usually further compact the wax and push it farther back into the ear canal.
Do not use ear candles to try to remove the wax. Ear candling, which involves placing a lighted candle in the ear canal to melt earwax, may be dangerous for your ears.
Seeking Medical Attention
You may want to seek medical attention if you have not managed to remove your earwax buildup after a week of home treatment. In some cases, excess earwax cannot be removed without a doctor’s assistance.