Feeling a sense of discomfort in your ears? Do they feel blocked, and you can barely hear? It is possible that the build-up of earwax in the ear canal is causing that stuffed feeling, which is accompanied by itching and pain. Earwax is a common problem, but if not treated at the right time, it can cause complications. What is earwax and what are the symptoms of its build-up? Are there any simple home remedies that can help you remove earwax without having to go to the doctor? If you want answers to all these questions, read on.
Earwax or cerumen is a natural substance produced as part of the body’s defense mechanism against bacteria and other foreign particles. It acts as a natural lubricant that traps the dirt while reducing the growth of bacteria. Earwax removal should not be done on a regular basis but only as and when required. It is a natural protection for the inner ear and eardrum (1).
Many times, since the earwax hardens, it becomes difficult for it to fall off on its own. Softer wax tends to come off easily. Hence, most remedies for the removal of earwax will try to soften it to bring it out towards the exterior portion of the ear.
A single use of this remedy should give relief from the blocked ear.
Even though it has a chemical name, hydrogen peroxide is absolutely natural. It is merely water reinforced with additional oxygen. All living organisms produce hydrogen peroxide naturally as a natural immune response to infection. Hydrogen peroxide bought from the medical store is chemically produced by passing compressed gas through a water solution. It can be used to remove earwax. It is also a disinfectant that will keep ear infections at bay (2).
Repeat this process if required.
Coconut oil is very useful to get rid of earwax. It contains medium chain fatty acids similar to sebum, and hence can be used without any worry. As it is also natural and effective against microbes, it lowers the risk of any infection. It may actually kill a wide range of harmful bacteria that accumulate due to the wax build-up (3, 4).
Mix the two ingredients and flush your ear with this solution to get rid of earwax build-up.
Repeat this every few weeks to keep your ears clean and infection-free.
A mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol helps dissolve the earwax. Alcohol serves as a drying agent and evaporates when the temperatures are low (5). Vinegar has astringent properties and fights microbial infections (5).
Fill a dropper with almond oil at room temperature. Use it in the same way as the coconut oil.
Repeat this as and when required.
Almond oil is another lubricant that assists in the elimination of earwax. The almond oil softens the wax and makes it easy to remove (6).
This home remedy can be used every few weeks.
Baby oil is a mineral oil with the addition of a mild, soothing fragrance. Mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum. It is an effective moisturizer and lubricant and softens earwax in no time, making it easy to remove (8).
You can repeat this home remedy after a day or two, if required.
Repeat as required. The hardened wax should come out quite easily.
Saline water dissolves the earwax as efficiently as strong ear drops that are recommended by doctors (11).
Mix the ACV and water, and flush out the ear with this solution.
Repeat this process the next day if any irritation persists.
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of apple cider vinegar come into use to deal with any harmful microbes that may be residing in your ear canal. The mild acidity of this solution will dissolve the earwax and remove it (12, 13).
Repeat for a few days regularly so that the hardened wax gets ultimately dislodged.
Olive oil is very helpful in softening hardened wax in ears. As it is greasy, it acts on the hardened wax and makes it pliable and easy to remove. Some studies have also indicated that virgin olive oil has strong bacteria destroying properties (14).
For best results, do this at night before going to bed. Repeat the next day if required.
If the ear blockage is accompanied by a lot of pain, using garlic oil is an effective therapy. Garlic contains allicin, which makes it a natural antibiotic. Allicin fights off any inner or middle ear infections and helps fight the pain. The oil will work on the stiff wax, and the garlic will eliminate any lurking infection. In this way, you will be able to combat the pain as well (15).
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Use this remedy once every month for clean ears.
Mullein flowers, if infused in oil, can be helpful to remove earwax. And as they have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory attributes, they will also help fight any infection that may be present (16).
Repeat for a few days to get relief.
The ear canal cleanses itself. But, at times, the accumulation of excess earwax causes discomfort and pain. Paraffin oil softens the earwax and helps in its easy removal (17).
Repeat this for a day or two.
Many earwax drops used as softeners have glycerin in them as an active ingredient. Glycerin is moist and an effective lubricant (18). It is also safe to be used at home.
Flush the ear with lukewarm water to remove excess earwax.
Repeat this as and when required.
If you have a recurring issue with earwax build-up, visiting your physician at short notices may be difficult. In such situations, a mild ear flush with lukewarm water should help. Warm water softens the wax and removes other dust, oils, and so on, thereby cleaning the ears thoroughly (19).
Earwax build-up can get annoying and can also lead to infections. It is better to include these remedies in your regular routine, instead of having to go to the doctor with an excruciating ear pain. Listed below are a few frequently asked questions regarding earwax.
Earwax is produced by the body to protect the outer and inner ears from germs, dust, and small objects that may enter the ear canals. It also protects the skin lining the ear canals from excess water. When the glands produce excessive wax, it starts piling up and hardening. Normal ear cleaning methods will only push the wax in further into the ear and cause more complications (21).
It is possible that your ear canal is blocked by earwax if you experience any of the following symptoms:
When you feel experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms and if the earwax is causing irritation, you can go ahead with the earwax removal process. In an ideal situation, there should be no need to clean the earwax. But due to the pollution and unwanted irritants in the atmosphere, earwax build-up has become a common ailment.
When earwax accumulates, it causes pain and itching and is irritating. It can be easily removed by using any of the above-described home remedies. As the ear and ear canal are very sensitive organs, utmost care and patience need to be exerted while attempting to clean your ears. Clean when required, and if you notice any unusual discharge, consult a doctor immediately.
Do you know of any other ways on how to remove earwax easily? Share with us in the comments section below.