Safe Earwax Removal

Posted On: 09-08-2017
Safe Earwax Removal
Earwax, also known as cerumen, can be an uncomfortable and unsightly byproduct. While it can be tempting to dig as deep as possible to remove earwax, you need to take deliberate and cautious steps when it comes to cleaning earwax. If not, you could damage your eardrum and even cause hearing loss.

What Earwax Does

Before earwax arrives at the opening of your ear, it serves a purpose of lubricating, protecting and cleaning the inside of your ear. By the time wax has visibly reached your ear, it is old. Chewing and other jaw motions gradually carry it there to the opening of your ear.

Correct Cleaning

You can clean your ears by washing the external ear with a clean cloth or a cotton swab. Hydrogen peroxide, baby oil, and mineral oil can all be used to soften an earwax blockage.


Despite the beliefs of many, cotton swabs are not intended to be inserted into the ear. Doing this can actually damage the ears, because it can push the earwax in even deeper. This blockage may contribute to hearing loss. Avoid commercial ear candles that claim to eliminate earwax, because they can cause problems such as perforation, obstruction, and burns.

Seeing the Doctor

Many patients have trouble softening earwax on their own, or find that they produce a lot of earwax and frequently have impacted wax. If this is the case, you may benefit from regular visits to the doctor to have the earwax removed. Your doctor may use an irrigation kit or a syringe filled with saline and water to safely remove the earwax.

You should also contact your doctor if you experience odor coming from your ears, earache, discharge, itching, or hearing loss, as well as a sensation that your ear is plugged. Any of these symptoms may indicate problems with your earwax or the ear itself.

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