Discover the Right and Wrong Way to Clean Ears and Eliminate Wax

Atlanta Hearing Associates' Blog.

One of the most common reasons for short-term hearing loss is a build up of ear wax, which the ear canal and interferes with hearing. If you’re rather certain that ear wax is the cause of your temporary hearing loss, you almost certainly want to clean your ears. Even so, you must clean the ears correctly and safely, otherwise you could cause lasting injury to your ears.

To stress safety when cleaning your ears, we will start with what not to do. One of the things to avoid is trying to remove ear wax by placing cotton swaps, Q-tips or any actual object into your ears; this may cause the ear wax to become compacted and exacerbate the situation. Likewise, avoid any gadget that injects a pressurized stream of water into your ears as this can rupture the ear drum. Furthermore, if you know that you have a ruptured eardrum or believe that you have an ear infection, do not try to clean your ears on your own, and see a hearing specialist instead. If you think you might have an infection, common signs and symptoms to watch for include fluid draining from the ears, fever, vomiting or diarrhea and ear pain.

Cleaning your ears properly at home is possible with a rinse solution and a bulb or syringe from your drug store. Purchase the rinse solution (usually carbamide peroxide) at a local drugstore or mix your own by combining equal amounts mineral oil, 3%-4% and glycerin.

To apply the carbamide peroxide solution, carefully squeeze the solution into the ear using the bulb or syringe. It works best to lay down on your side with a towel readily available to catch any drips. Avoid touching the ear with the bulb or syringe if possible. The solution takes some time to work, so leave it in each ear for a couple minutes, and then repeat with the other ear.

The solution will loosen and soften the accumulated ear wax so that it can be rinsed out. Use warm water to rinse each ear and towel dry. Again, don’t insert anything into the ear while drying. If your ears still feel obstructed, do this again a couple of times a day for 2 or 3 days. If the issue persists, consult with a hearing specialist or audiologist for help.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.