Earwax Cleaning – Some Great, Some Terrible Removal Methods

07/08/2022 | Patient Resources

We can clean out your earwax effectively in fewer than five minutes.

Unlike the washed-up whale that had a foot-long column of earwax in its skull, your ears will only ever collect a small amount of earwax, but it can feel like it’s a lot more, and the smell might bother you too! (Depending on your ancestry, your earwax may or may not smell bad.)

But no matter how much earwax you have or what it smells like, it’s good for your ears.

It helps to stop dust or other unwanted objects, like bugs, from going into your ears, and it stops bacteria and fungi from growing in your ear canal. Any of these can lead to an ear infection, so your earwax is like your own bodyguard for the ear.

But sometimes, ears can create too much earwax, or worse, the earwax can get impacted, which can make you feel dizzy, give you headaches, and temporarily affect your hearing.

When this happens, it’s time to get the earwax out.

To help you decide how to clean out your ears, I’ve listed some ways below so that you can make an informed decision. I have included some of the worst suggestions people have. Believe it or not, we have had many patients over the years who regret trying them.

Terrible Suggestions for Cleaning Out Your Ears

Please don’t try either of these!

Earwax Candle

If you’ve been tempted by videos claiming you can remove earwax with a candle, turn off YouTube and listen to an audiologist. Using ear wax candles is dangerous.

The idea behind ear candling is that the heat of the candle will create a vacuum that will pull out your earwax. No documented study says this is effective, and even though many proponents claim that the wax they show is removed from earwax, it is usually just the residue from the end of the candle.

Because a flame is involved, there have been numerous reports of people setting their hair on fire, burning themselves, and even saying it started a fire in their homes. The FDA warns against it.

Cleaning Ears with Q-Tips or Cotton Swabs

People have been using cotton swabs in their ears for decades, but this is another terrible way of trying to get earwax out of your ear canal. There’s a reason why we say you should never put anything smaller than an elbow in your ear.

People suppose that the end of the cotton swab will collect the earwax as they roll it around, but what really happens is that the earwax is pushed farther down the ear canal. This causes the earwax to become impacted, which will require professional removal.

Another danger of using cotton swabs is that you might perforate your eardrum. Although people say they would never let that happen, your arm might get unexpectedly knocked or you might slip, instantly pushing the cotton swab much too far.

Never use cotton swabs in children’s ears! They might move suddenly.

Is Earwax Clogging Your Ears? Have It Cleaned Out Safely and Quickly by Your Local Audiologist.

Good Suggestions for Cleaning Out Your Ears

Any of the following methods can help, but if your earwax is already impacted, it’s probably too late for a home remedy. Before I list these…

Don’t put any type of eardrops, liquid, or oil in your ear if you have a current or recent ear infection, ear surgery, or ear trauma. The drops can go into your middle ear, causing permanent damage.

Earwax Kit Removal

You can buy a kit for earwax removal in most pharmacies and superstores. But there’s no need to spend extra pennies on one of these when you can buy eardrops instead.

An earwax kit can vary in its offerings:

  • Most just include a bottle of eardrops and a cloth. Simply follow the instructions on how to insert the drops for the number of recommended days and, hopefully, the earwax will fall out.
  • Some kits have a battery-operated spiral swab that claims to break up the earwax. Just like cotton swabs, this can push your earwax down your ear canal and cause it to become impacted.
  • Other kits have a battery-operated, handheld vacuum that will vacuum out softened earwax. Safer than cotton swabs, results vary depending on how much earwax you have and how impacted it has become.

Ear Irrigator

This can work, but we don’t recommend any that use a syringe as you might use the wrong pressure and cause an infection. Spray bottles like the Rhino Ear Washer are safer because the trigger delivers the right amount of pressure.

Eardrops for Earwax Cleaning

Buy these over the counter to reduce earwax buildup. Some recognized brand names are Debrox, Rite Aid, and Murine.

Irrigate with Hydrogen Peroxide

Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with lukewarm water and rinse out your ears by pouring in a little at a time and holding a bowl under the ear to collect the runoff. Never use straight hydrogen peroxide – it will dry out your ear canal and make it itchy.

Soften Earwax with Olive Oil or Mineral Oil

This is one of the safer methods of softening your earwax. Simply put one or two drops in your ear once or twice a day and, after a few days, the wax will be soft enough to fall out.

However, if you have any allergies to the oil you’re using, don’t use this method.

Visit an Audiologist

The best way to remove earwax is to have a professional do it for you. At Cornerstone Audiology, we can remove all your earwax and, thanks to the instruments we use, we’ll be able to see when it’s all gone.

Earwax Removal Near Me in Lubbock

You can rest assured in knowing we have many years of experience in removing earwax for our West Texas patients. We are particularly proud of our Earigator tool because it ensures that your earwax is removed quickly, safely, and comfortably.

The Earigator keeps the water at body temperature and regulates the delivery of water pressure, so the eardrum stays safe. And because we can also see inside the ear canal with LED illumination and magnification, we can target your earwax effectively in fewer than five minutes.

Another benefit of having a hearing clinic take care of your earwax blockage is that you can choose to have us check your hearing after removal to make sure that’s what was causing your hearing loss. Even if you have no history of hearing loss, it is always wise to have a baseline set of results to compare it to for any future hearing problems.

Book your earwax removal appointment at our Lubbock or Snyder location, or call us. We look forward to helping you hear clearly again.

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Julie Hubik, Au.D., CCC-A - Doctor of Audiology & CEO of Cornerstone Audiology

Dr. Hubik is the owner and founder of one of West Texas' most trusted and professional hearing providers, Cornerstone Audiology. She received her bachelor of science degree in communication disorders as well as her doctorate of audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). In her youth, Dr. Hubik became interested in helping people with a hearing loss to communicate more effectively and therefore pursued a degree in this field. Dr. Hubik was born and raised in Anton, Texas, and appreciates working with the people of West Texas. She and her team are proud to serve the hearing needs of their community.

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