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kheredia's avatar

What's the best way to clean out ear wax?

Asked by kheredia (5558points) April 18th, 2011

I’ve had a problem cleaning out my ears for a while now. I hate q tips because they just push the wax further in the ear canal. I tried ear drops and flushing but now I feel like my left ear is plugged. What are other effective methods for cleaning out ear wax?

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22 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

Go to a doctor. Apparently they have wonderful, magical, ways of getting your ear unclogged. And if any damage occurs to your ear in the process at least you have someone you can sue.

everephebe's avatar

@KatetheGreat, ear candles so don’t work. Your own link shows that. Though I wish they did, that would be cool.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@everephebe I actually did it and it worked. I was just trying to show what it was. Maybe it’ll work for others?

KateTheGreat's avatar

I actually did put up a pretty bad link, but some ear candle methods actually work. Sorry about that!

seazen_'s avatar

I’ve never cleaned my ears – and I’ve never been told I need to do so. I have read that it is both dangerous and unhealthy to do so – and I am inclined to agree.

rooeytoo's avatar

My left ear periodically clogs up, never the right, only the left. A doc told me once it was from taking showers??? Anyhow I have had it opened so many times now I just do it myself. I use the ear drops for a day to soften the wax then take a syringe with warm water and keep flushing until the wax clears out and you can hear again.

It is never a good idea to stick anything rigid like a qtip into your ear but I personally have never had any problems flushing with the warm water.

FluffyChicken's avatar

I only do this if I have really bad build up, but I pour hydrogen peroxide into my ear (just a cap full), and let it sit until the bubbling sound stops. Then I put a tissue or a cotton ball to it, tilt my head the other way, and let it all rush out. It tickles like a bitch and feels awesome when you finally pour it out.

DON’T do it though if you have a solid wax plug. It could get behind it and damage your eardrum from the bubbles expanding, and not being able to escape.

I love q-tips in my ears. don’t tell my doctor!

meiosis's avatar

My GP told me you should never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear…

Visit your GP’s surgery and have the practice nurse syringe your ears. You need to add a few drops of olive oil to your ears for a few days before hand, to help soften everything up.

Seelix's avatar

Check out the Wikipedia earwax page. It gives some suggestions of how to remove excess earwax, and also mentions that the American Academy of Otolaryngology maintains that earwax removal is unnecessary unless it causes problems such as impaired hearing.

mecousinvinny's avatar

Go to your doctor, he must have some solution that will help you clean the wax from your ears.

If I am not mistaking there also must be some ear wax cleaning solution or kit.

jaytkay's avatar

I was actually deafened by ear wax (ewwwww, I know). At the doctor’s they washed it out with a bulb syringe as @rooeytoo describes above. It takes a loong time and lots of warm water.

Now I just do it myself every couple of months.

When you run of fluid from the kit which comes with the syringe olive oil works just as well.

blueiiznh's avatar

Go to a ENT and have them flush your ears. Your PCP my be able to as well.
I have had it done several times due to the fact that I swim a lot and they tend to get clogged.
You will not believe how well you can hear after that!

Zaku's avatar

I’m nearly deaf from ear wax right now in my left ear, too!

(My ears apparently produce a lot of wax all the time, so I generally have reduced hearing from it pretty much all the time.)

I have an appointment to have my doctor clean them out, using his elite skills and industrial water pick. It works very well and gives me super-acute hearing… for about a week. After that, I’m back to being hard of hearing and speaking in an annoying muffled voice.

My doctor said it should naturally fall out by itself, but in my case, it doesn’t do it quickly enough. He said I could try warm olive oil, but that hurt like HELL and made my head smell like a salad, so I only tried that once. I will question my doctor again when I see him, but I think I will try regularly using earwax removal drops and plastic ear syringe regularly after I get the turbo treatment. The box says it’s supposed to work after getting cleaned out, and it didn’t work in my current condition.

Rarebear's avatar

Dangers of ear candling
http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/candling.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8849790?dopt=Abstract
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/lowdown-on-ear-candling

If you have wax in your ears that is bugging you, go see your doctor. It’s an easy procedure to remove it, but pouring hot candle wax in your ears isn’t the way to do it.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Zaku – lol’ed at your head smelling like a salad!!!

XOIIO's avatar

@fluffychicken that sounds like a torture technique

dabbler's avatar

@Zaku your olive oil was too warm, as you well know it’s Very Sensitive in there. Sesame oil works well too. Also lol’ed at your head smelling like a salad, with you not at you. Home remedies can be amusing while effective.
Drops and syringe and other irrigation methods are the safest and most effective from what I can tell.
Tried the ear candles several times and sometimes they seem to work and other times not so much. They are great drama though it’s fun to do.

kheredia's avatar

Thanks everybody.. I flushed my ear again last night and I think I got everything.. it took a couple days but at least I can hear again.

Zaku's avatar

@dabbler Aha, sesame oil. Ok. Yes the olive oil was too warm – the ear has a different sense of warmth than the finger or tongue, apparently.
I would not mind trading hearing for a salad-smelling head, though I have to start wearing salad dressings to tweak the fragrance.

drdoombot's avatar

I know I shouldn’t, but I use a Q-Tip (very carefully). I have having earwax come off on my noise-canceling headphones, so I feel the need to clean my ears.

I’m intrigued by this doctor-cleaning idea… I think I want to try it.

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