Most of the time, earwax really isn’t a big deal. In fact, it’s a natural substance that lubricates and protects the ears, and it even has antibacterial properties that help reduce your risk of ear infection. If you have earwax build-up, though, it can become uncomfortable, causing a feeling of fullness or clogging, loss of hearing, ringing in the ear, or itching, pain, and odor. It’s understandable that you might want to try some DIY earwax removal, but doing it the wrong way can actually damage your ears. Here, we offer some tips for earwax cleaning safety and facts about when it’s time to seek medical help.
- Baking soda in warm water may do the trick. Just mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda into 2 ounces of warm water until it dissolves. Tilting your head to the side, use a dropper to put five to 10 drops of this solution into each ear and leave it for an hour. You can do this every day until the earwax is under control, but don’t do it for more than two weeks at a time.
- You can also try hydrogen peroxide to clean your ears. Put in five to 10 drops, just like with the baking soda, but use three percent hydrogen peroxide and only leave it in each ear for five minutes. You can do this daily for three to 14 days, but be aware that some people find the bubbling of the peroxide a little uncomfortable.
- Various oils can soften ear wax. You can remove ear wax more easily if it’s soft, and this can be accomplished using baby oil, mineral oil, or even stool softener.
- Flushing your ears can be done at home or at urgent care. Also known as ear irrigation, this requires a syringe and warm water. Just tilt your head to one side, flush the ear with warm water, and let the excess run into a bowl. You can do this in conjunction with other methods, and in fact it may be best to try softening the wax before you irrigate.
- Here’s what not to do. Don’t stick things into your ear canal, no matter how tempting this idea may be. Cotton swabs, ear candles, and small objects like tweezers or bobby pins don’t belong in the ear canal, and they can actually do more harm than good. If you inadvertently push wax deeper into your ear with one of these tools, you could cause trouble with your hearing or make your ears itch and hurt. Even worse, you could accidentally rupture your ear drum! If you’ve tried the home remedied listed above and you can’t seem to get relief, head to urgent care instead of risking damage to your ear.
The goal of Total Point Urgent Care is to be a convenient healthcare resource for our community. Providing immediate medical care at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room, each neighborhood urgent care clinic in our network offers warm, efficient, personalized care. At our locations in Texas and Arizona, our on-site technology and services include urgent care walk ins, primary care, specialty care, routine check-ups, flu shots and other vaccinations, COVID-19 testing, and onsite lab and x rays. Soon, we’ll even offer virtual visits so that our patients can choose telecare instead of risking a trip to the clinic. For convenient medical care, visit one of our locations or contact us through our website.