What is the best way to remove ear wax?
Learn about ear wax removal methods
Why should you clean your ears?
We may feel tempted to clean our ears because of a substance called cerumen, commonly called earwax. It’s normal for your body to produce it, and it actually helps protect and lubricate your ears. If you didn’t have earwax, your ears would probably be itchy and dry. Earwax even has antibacterial properties, which means your ears are self-cleaning. Earwax is like a filter for your ears, keeping out harmful things like dirt and dust, and trapping them so they don’t go deep inside. If it does build up inside your ear canal, especially if it clogs the canal, then you should know how to safely remove ear wax at home before it impairs your hearing.
Why would you want to remove ear wax safely at home rather than having a doctor do it?
If you experience a build up of earwax in the ear canal you can go to a doctor, but this is a basic part of hygiene that can be performed at home with the right tools. Doctor appointments cost time and money as well as anxiety for some so it’s great to know you can remove ear wax at home.
What are some ear wax removal methods?
Some are not safe (oil, candle, cotton swabs), ear cleaning tool kits can be dangerous if not used properly (having an otoscope to see helps).
If ear wax has been in your ear canal for a long time it can harden and be difficult to remove. You can buy over-the-counter ear drops like Debrox, which helps soften the earwax, making it easier to scrape out.
A bulb syringe simply applies a small vacuum to your ear canal and helps suck out any loose ear wax.
Mineral or Olive Oil
Instead of over-the-counter drops you can use home remedies like baby oil, mineral oil or glycerin. Using an eyedropper, apply a few drops (5-10) of warm oil or glycerin in the ear canal. This should soften the ear wax and help it work it’s way out naturally or make it easier to flush out.
Ear Cleaning Candle
Ear Candles are not recommended as a wax removal method. They are not effective and can even cause burns if used improperly.
Doctors advise against using cotton swabs as they are a very common cause of ear injuries. Cotton swabs also have a tendency to push the wax deeper into the ear canal instead of removing it.
Q-Grips are safer than cotton swabs, but you still can’t see inside the ear canal when you use them so you can’t see what you are doing.
Ear Cleaning Tool Kit
Other ear wax removal methods include ear cleaning tool kits, which often include a curved metal instrument called a curet. Doctors used curets to scrape out ear wax, but they also use an otoscope to see inside the patient’s ear. Using a curet on yourself is dangerous because you could injure your ear drum and potentially impair your hearing.
A modern approach to earwax removal is to use a digital otoscope with a wax removal attachment. Teslong makes a number of devices that are safe to use because you can see inside your ear the entire time you are using the device. Digital otoscopes have integrated LED lights to illuminate the ear canal and help the tip of the otoscope avoid your eardrum. If you want to know how to remove ear wax safely at home, the digital otoscope is the best method. The soft silicone-tipped spoon attaches to the end of the otoscope and that combined with the camera gives you the perfect tool to scrape out pieces of earwax.