Earwax is also known as cerumen in medical terms. It is a natural substance produced by the ear glands. It protects and lubricates the ear. It also has antibacterial properties which protects the ears from bacteria and other external agents. Earwax is slowly accumulated in the ears which mainly comprises of earwax and skin cells. It is transported from the eardrum to the ear opening where it can be easily removed.
Reasons for Earwax Accumulation
Blockage or impaction of earwax may be caused due to the accumulation of earwax deep inside the ear canal due to the following reasons.
- Using of objects such as bobby pins
- Q-tips or cotton swabs
- Ear plugs
- Hearing aids
Excessive earwax buildup may also be due to the below reasons,
- Narrowing of ear canal
- Skin disease
- Bone disease
- Connective tissues disease
- Less production of fluid form of cerumen
- Overproduction of cerumen
- Blockage within the ear canal
- Omega-3 fatty acids deficiency
- Zinc and magnesium deficiency
Signs and Symptoms of Excessive Earwax
The following given are the signs and symptoms of excessive earwax.
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
- Uncomfortable sensation in the ear
- Noises in the ear (Tinnitus)
- Temporary hearing loss
It must be consulted with the doctor to get it treated immediately. There are various ear drops and wax removal kits available in the market that can be bought easily.
Home Remedies for Earwax
There are various simple and natural ways to remove earwax. These home remedies help in unblocking and removing the hardened earwax from the ears. Care must be taken while suing these home remedies. Also these remedies must not be done in case of perforated eardrums. Such cases must be taken to the ENT specialist for treatment.
1. Salt Water
Salt water is the best solution for removing earwax from the ears. It can soften the accumulated earwax and make it easy to remove.
What to Do?
- Mix one teaspoon of salt in one-half cup of warm water until the salt dissolves completely
- Soak a cotton ball in the saline solution
- Tilt the affected ear up toward the sky
- Squeeze the cotton ball to put a few drops of the saline water into the ear
- Stay in the same position for three to five minutes
- Next, tilt your head in the opposite direction to allow the saline water to drain out
- Clean the outer part of your ear with a clean cloth to remove the softened wax
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is yet another effective treatment for the removal of trapped earwax that causes discomfort. It can remove the earwax and debris from the ear canal easily due to its effervescent properties.
What to Do?
- Mix equal parts of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water.
- Fill an ear dropper with this solution
- Tilt your head sideways and put a few drops of this solution into the ear
- Leave it for some time, and then tilt your head towards the opposite side to drain out the solution
- Wipe away the earwax using a clean cloth
3. Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol
Vinegar and rubbing alcohol has been used since ages to remove excess ear wax. This mixture helps in dissolving the earwax. The alcohol will serve as a drying agent and evaporate at a very low temperature. Vinegar has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that fight all sorts of bacterial and fungal infections. It is also effective in treating “swimmer’s ear”.
What to Do?
- Mix equal parts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in a bowl
- Soak a cotton ball in the solution
- Tilt the affected ear toward the sky and then squeeze two or three drops of this solution into the ear
- Wait for five minutes and tilt your head to the opposite direction so that gravity can bring out the solution as well as the wax
- Remove the earwax from the outer ear with an ear bud
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil can soften the earwax and make it easier to take out of the ears. It also has antiseptic property that reduces the risk of ear infection. It is considered to be one of the best remedies for removing excess earwax.
What to Do?
- Slightly warm some olive oil
- Using a dropper put three or four drops of the warm oil into the affected ear
- Allow it to settle for 10 minutes so that the earwax becomes soft
- Tilt your head sideways and remove the oil and wax with ear buds
- Alternatively, you may also use mustard oil instead of olive oil
5. Baby Oil
Baby oil has antiseptic properties that help in healing the infections in the ear. It also helps in softening the earwax so that it can be taken out easily.
What to Do?
- Fill an ear dropper with baby oil
- Tilt the affected ear toward the sky and put two to five drops of the baby oil into the ear
- Place a cotton ball at the ear opening to prevent oil from oozing out
- Leave it for several minutes
- Remove the cotton ball and tilt your head the opposite direction to drain out the extra oil
- Clean the ear opening with a soft cloth
6. Warm Water
Warm water flush is extremely helpful in getting rid of the pain and discomfort caused due to the accumulation of earwax. It helps in getting rid of excess earwax build-up inside the ear canals. The warm water gently forces the water to dislodge the wax and make it easier to remove. Make sure only clean and filtered water is used in this procedure.
What to Do?
- Fill a rubber-bulb syringe with slightly warm water (body temperature)
- Tilt your head upright and pull the outer ear to straighten the ear canal
- Use the syringe to put a small amount of water into the ear canal
- Leave it for a minute and then drain it out by tilting your head to the opposite side
- Clean away the water and earwax with a clean cloth
The above home remedies are tried and tested and found helpful in removing earwax. However, if the problem persists for a longer time or if there is severe pain or discomfort, it is better to consult the doctor and start the treatment immediately.
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