Ear wax or cerumen is the yellow substance secreted by cerumen glands present inside the ear canal. We might not think much of it, but this waxy substance actually keeps our ears healthy and protects the inner delicate parts from dust, dirt, water, insects and other foreign materials. Sometimes though, ear wax hardens and gets impacted causing loss of hearing. Thankfully, you need not rush to an ear-nose-throat specialist to have the wax removed. There are several home remedies that can be effectively used to remove ear wax easily and painlessly, without spending much money.
1. Olive oil
Warm olive oil is one of the best natural remedies to remove ear wax in babies and elderly patients. Leave the warm oil in the ear canal for a few minutes. You can use cotton plugs to block the ear so that the oil doesn’t seep out. Afterwards, use some hydrogen peroxide or over-the-counter wax removal medication to flush out the hardened wax. Oil should be warm and not hot as heated oil can cause burns in the ear.
2. Ear candles
Ear candles are an ancient remedy for removing hardened ear wax. Few retailers sell ear candles online. The candles typically consist of beeswax and cloth which create a ‘chimney like’ effect that draws the hardened wax out. Another explanation is that the ear candles heat up the cerumen or ear wax which comes out in liquid form over the next few days of treatment. You can obtain this ear wax removal treatment at alternative therapists, herbalists or non medical practitioners. Do not use this remedy at home as it could cause serious burns.
3. OTC ear wax softeners
Many over the counter (OTC) ear wax softeners are readily available in the market. Debrox ear wax removal formula is gentle and non-irritating. It contains carbamide peroxide which gives a microfoaming action to remove hardened ear wax gently.
4. Q tips
Sterile Q tips can be used to gently clean the external ear. Care must be taken not to push the tip deep inside the ear as this could cause the wax to further lodge inside rather than coming out. Avoid putting sticks, pens, pencils or other sharp objects to draw the wax out.
5. Baby oil or mineral oil
This is one of the most effective ways of removing ear wax from baby’s ears and you can also use it for adult ears. Apply 3-4 drops of mineral oil or baby oil in affected ear. Let the oil remain in the ear for a few minutes. Clean out the ear with some warm water by using a syringe to draw out the dirt.
6. Hydrogen peroxide ear wash
Hydrogen peroxide ear wash is another remedy to remove ear wax. Using a dropper, add a couple of drops of peroxide in the ear. Follow this up by flushing the ear with warm water.
7. Ear wash system
This is a practical, inexpensive and effective wax removal method. Here is a great product which has received rave reviews for removing hardened wax in the comforts of your home. The system consists of a bottle for filling in distilled water or white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. This is attached with a tube to a rubber bulb. Place the tube in the ear; the tube’s opening is designed in such a manner that it prevents you from inserting it too deep in the ear. Bend over the sink and press the rubber bulb. This will cause warm water to rush inside your ear canal with a force that will help loosening of the ear wax. The loosened wax will fall out in the sink. Use this remedy monthly for maintaining your ear health.
Glycerin is another great natural remedy to remove ear wax at home. Add in a few drops of glycerin in the ears and let it remain for a few minutes. Next, draw out the wax with warm water.
9. Salt water rinse
Salt water also counts in our list of best and most effective natural remedies to remove ear wax easily at home. Take warm water and salt and using a dropper, add it in both ears. Bend your ear over the sink and flush out the wax with this saline rinse.
10. Ear wax prevention
- Use a monthly ear maintenance routine even if you do not experience any ear wax related symptoms. This includes cleaning the ear with a cotton ball or a clean Q tip. Next, use warm water rinse to flush out the ears. You can also use ear drops to gently remove ear debris. ((Always use warm water for cleaning the ears as cold water can make you feel dizzy)
- Never use any pointed or sharp objects in the ears as these can cause irreversible damage to your ear drums.
- Avoid consuming dairy products if you are prone to ear wax buildup.
- Make sure to include plenty of Omega 3 rich foods like sea food, walnuts and avocados as they help keep your ears healthy by preventing waxy buildup.
If, despite the use of these natural remedies for ear wax removal and prevention you continue experiencing pain, tinnitus or loss of hearing, then you must consult a specialist to help remove the impacted wax for you.