Wax buildup in the ear is a common problem that affects many people. While earwax is necessary to protect the ear canal from infection and debris, too much can cause discomfort and even hearing loss. In this article, we’ll discuss how to safely remove wax from your ear and prevent future buildup.
Symptoms of Wax Buildup
If you’re experiencing symptoms such as ear pain, itching, ringing in the ears, or muffled hearing, you may have excess earwax. Other symptoms may include a feeling of fullness in the ear or dizziness. It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s best to consult a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing persistent discomfort.
Don’t Use Cotton Swabs
Many people use cotton swabs to clean their ears, but this can actually push the wax deeper into the ear canal and cause more problems. In fact, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery advises against using cotton swabs to clean the ears. Instead, try one of the following methods.
Over-the-Counter Wax Removal Drops
Over-the-counter wax removal drops can help soften the wax and make it easier to remove. These drops typically contain hydrogen peroxide, saline, or other gentle ingredients that can break down the wax. Follow the instructions on the package carefully and be sure to use only as directed.
There are several home remedies that may help remove earwax, although it’s important to note that these methods have not been extensively studied. One popular method is to use warm olive oil or almond oil to soften the wax, then rinse the ear with warm water. Another option is to use a mixture of vinegar and alcohol to help break down the wax. However, it’s important to use caution with home remedies and to stop immediately if you experience any discomfort.
When to See a Doctor
If you’ve tried at-home remedies and over-the-counter drops and still can’t remove the wax, it may be time to see a doctor. Your doctor may use special tools to remove the wax, such as a suction device or a small curved instrument called a curette. Never attempt to remove earwax with any object, as this can cause serious injury to the ear canal.
Preventing Wax Buildup
To prevent future wax buildup, avoid using cotton swabs in your ears and don’t insert any objects into your ear canal. You can also try using a few drops of mineral oil or baby oil in your ears once a week to help prevent wax from building up. If you’re prone to wax buildup, you may need to have your ears cleaned by a healthcare professional periodically.
While earwax is a natural and necessary part of the ear, too much can cause discomfort and even hearing loss. If you’re experiencing symptoms of wax buildup, try using over-the-counter drops or home remedies to safely remove the wax. If these methods don’t work, see a doctor. And remember, prevention is key when it comes to earwax buildup.