Earwax is an essential part of the body’s mega-strategy to keep us free of dirt and disease. Just like nasal mucus, earwax traps airborne particles, bacteria, and other things we don’t want in our ear canals. Gradually the earwax builds up and naturally moves down the ear canal, carrying all of that nasty stuff with it.
It’s a great system, but sometimes it doesn’t work quite right. Earwax can dry out, pile up, and become “impacted.” Large impacted heaps of earwax can precipitate infection, be very uncomfortable, and even cause hearing loss.
For this reason, many of us wish to clean out our earwax. Unfortunately, this is sometimes easier said than done.
The Problem with Q-tips
Q-tips can prove to be a potentially serious problem for your ear canal and eardrum.
If you manage to avoid damaging the eardrum, the blunt end of the Q-tip can still push impacted masses of earwax further into the ear canal. Yes, your Q-tip may come out looking dirty, but it is possible that you only scraped the interior of the ear canal without getting the bulk of earwax.
Alternative Ear Cleaning Methods
If you are going to stop using Q-tips, what can you use instead?
Thankfully, there are many options. However, let’s first agree that we shouldn’t be putting any objects into our ears. Earwax isn’t something to be scraped away unless by a trained medical professional.
At your next checkup, ask your physician to clean your ears, and they will do so. If you want to clean your ears at home between trips to the doctor, then you have some solid options.
First, if you have hard, impacted earwax, the best thing you can do is to soften it. There are several ways to do this. Diluted medical grade hydrogen peroxide, baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin are all good options. Add a few drops into your ear canal allow it to sit.
Wash the earwax out gently after a couple of minutes, preferably during a warm shower. Oils can be left in, if you wish, and their presence may work to soften troublesome earwax over hours and days, making it leave the ear canal naturally.
You can also use the following high quality products. These are tailored for those with specific needs.
- Ear Drops from Progressive Labs helps to relieve occasional earache pain with a blend of all-natural ingredients.
- D-89-1 Ear Drops from Dynamic Nutritional is a homeopathic ear drop formula for ear infections and earaches. A great natural option for helping ear infections!
- Silvera Solution for Ears 24 ppm from Bio Nativus combines structured silver with aloe to promote gentle care without chemicals or odors.
- Kids Mullein Garlic Oil from Herb Pharm is a proprietary blend of herbal extracts intended to temporarily soothe itchy, sensitive, and irritated ears. Herb Pharm products are made from organic herbs, so you don’t have to worry about giving your child toxic or artificial ingredients.
Another helpful way to remove earwax is to increase the temperature of your environment and your body. Have you ever spent time exercising outside in the summer, only to find melted earwax coming out of your ear canal? The cause is elevated body temperature, which kickstarts the natural earwax melting and elimination process.
This is why a common home remedy for an ear infection is placing a hot water bottle on the affected side of the head. The elevated temperature helps impacted wax to melt and stop causing problems.
So, in conclusion, we can soften earwax with oils and other substances, and we can make it melt away with elevated temperature through hot showers, summer activity, and vigorous exercise. Once you get in the groove with these habits, earwax shouldn’t be a big issue for you at all, and if it is, ask your doctor to remove it next time you have an appointment.