If your ears have been feeling clogged up lately, it’s possible that you have a buildup of earwax. While your first instinct might be to try and clean it, there are a few reasons why that might not necessarily be the wisest decision.

A certain amount of earwax can be a good thing, as it’s part of a healthy ear canal. It traps any dirt or debris that might find its way in there, and it stops dirt from reaching your eardrum. Earwax also helps inhibit the growth of any fungi or bacteria in the ear canal.

There is a point, though, when you might have too much earwax in your ears. This can cause your ears to feel clogged up, and it can affect your balance, making you feel dizzy. Some people even report headaches from the buildup.

A buildup of earwax can also affect your hearing – some people who see us assume that they have a mild hearing loss only to find that their hearing has actually been affected by too much earwax rather than a hearing problem.

The Reasons for a Buildup of Earwax

One of the reasons why a person might have a lot of earwax is because they are used to cleaning it out themselves every time they notice a small amount.

Unfortunately, what this can do is cause the ear canal to create even more earwax in response.

It’s natural to try to remove the earwax yourself at home rather than spend the time and money to have someone remove it for you. There are hundreds of videos for situations for clogged ears – but many of the “solutions” are rather eccentric in nature, not to mention how they may even be unsafe for your ears.

We’ve been providing hearing healthcare for many years and have seen the results of people’s efforts to remove their earwax – the good, the bad and the dangerous. There’s multiple ways to remove earwax safely at home, but we’re hoping that you avoid the more hazardous ones.

Have your earwax professionally removed.

Do Not Try and Remove Earwax This Way

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Earwax Candle

First and foremost, please avoid trying this method. Granted, there are a lot of videos and articles about how to do earwax candling, claiming that it’s a great idea, but seriously, who came up with the thought that dripping hot wax into your ear canal was smart?

There is no proof that this works, and you might burn your ear, face or hair with the flame. Some people have even started a house fire from trying this.

The FDA has also commented on this, saying ear candling is ineffective and risky.

Cotton Swabs and Q-Tips

People have been using cotton swabs for decades to clean out their ear canals, and we really don’t recommend it at all. Sometimes the results can be even worse than with those trying ear candling.

The reason why is that when you put a cotton swab into your ear canal, it pushes any earwax that’s near the tip of the canal farther down your ear, possibly causing the earwax to become impacted and much more difficult to remove.

It isn’t likely that the Q-tip will hit your eardrum, but there are many stories from our casualty departments about people who fell, or something hit their arm, while a Q-tip was in their ear, and they perforated their eardrum.

Q-tips have a warning on the box saying that using them in the ear canal is dangerous. Sadly, not many people pay heed.

Ear Drops

Do ear drops help unclog your ears? The answer is yes – but you should consider any allergies to certain ingredients in the drops, first.

Also, if you have an ear infection or you’ve had ear surgery or a ruptured eardrum, don’t use ear drops, as this could damage your hearing permanently.

Over-the-counter ear drops

Sold online and in pharmacies and stores, some ear drops claim to soften earwax. Most of these will do what they promise.

Simply use the dropper to measure the number of drops you put in the ear canal once or twice a day; and after a few days, hopefully, softened earwax will fall out.

However, if the earwax has become impacted or you have a large buildup, no number of ear drops will help. Only a hearing specialist will be able to see how much earwax is in your ear canal and how impacted it is and have the tools to remove it.

Olive Oil or Mineral Oil

As a cheaper alternative to over-the-counter ear drops, a lot of people use olive oil or mineral oil for clogged ears. Use two or three drops a day for a week or two and it can soften the earwax.

Putting mineral oil in your ear can be risky – make sure you’re not allergic or will have a bad reaction to the oil before you attempt cleaning your ears with it.

Clean out Your Ears with Hydrogen Peroxide

Found at any local pharmacy or grocery store, you can put a mixture of 3% peroxide and lukewarm water in your ear to help soften the wax. Don’t use it undiluted, as it will make your ear itch and dry it out.

Then lie on your side after a few minutes to let it seep out. This can sometimes work to remove the wax.

Because hydrogen peroxide has an even thinner viscosity than ear drops, know this can be very damaging to the eardrum if there’s even the slightest chance it’s damaged from surgery, an infection or a perforation.

Earwax Removal Near Me in Nova Scotia

The safest way to remove earwax is to have a hearing professional do it for you. Here at Provincial Hearing, we have the tools necessary to clean out your earwax efficiently and thoroughly.

We’ll remove your earwax either with irrigation or a curette, or we’ll use a combination of both methods to make sure your ear canals are left empty.

If your earwax was affecting your hearing, we can also do a hearing test to make sure all is well in that department too.

Schedule your earwax removal session at our Bridgewater, Kentville or Truro location. Or call us with any questions about removing earwax at home. We hope the uncomfortable feeling in your ears is resolved soon.

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Annette Cross, BC-HIS CEO and President of Provincial Hearing

Annette grew up in a farming family and was familiar with hearing loss because it was in her family. Finding hearing care very interesting, and after gaining more than 10 years of management experience, she started working in the industry in 1992 as a secretary. Her passion and dedication to help enhance lives through better hearing has only grown more since those days. In 1997, Annette had the opportunity to purchase Provincial Hearing from owner Don Allen. Since then, she has grown the business to three locations — Bridgewater, Truro, and Kentville. Provincial Hearing is proud to be one of the oldest locally/family-owned clinics in Nova Scotia, and Annette contributes the clinics’ success to her team’s provision of honest, personalized patient care and their desire to always stay on top of the latest advancements in the hearing industry.