Earwax, also called cerumen is a natural substance produced by the glands in the ear canal. It is necessary for the appropriate functioning of the ear. Normally, the ear canal uses its cleaning system to remove the earwax without your intervention. However, sometimes the earwax builds up due to various reasons and may cause discomfort or even lead to infections. It is crucial to know when and how to remove the earwax to maintain your ears in a good condition.
Causes Nad Symptoms Of Earwax Build-Up
Earwax is produced in the ear canal to prevent germs and dust from entering the inner ear. It also reduces the risk of infection and damage to the sensitive skin of the inner ear. A small amount of cerumen is always present in the ear and is a normal condition. It gets removed by the thin hairs that grow inside your ears. The earwax is pushed towards the outer ear, from where it can be easily removed with water or a cotton bud. However, sometimes cerumen can build up due to a blockage in the ear canal, caused by a foreign object or due to the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and magnesium.
The most common symptoms of earwax build-up vary from an earache and the feeling of fullness in the ear to itching and temporary loss of hearing. In those cases, you should take some steps to remove the earwax with some of the homer methods described below. First and foremost, however, you should learn what not to do when cleaning your ears.
Steps To Be Avoided When Removing Earwax
One of the most common ways of cleaning the ears is through the use of ear buds. Simple and popular as it may seem, this method actually makes things worse as you might push the earwax even deeper into the ear canal. If you repeat this process regularly, you can be sure that at some stage your ears will get blocked due to the accumulation of earwax.
You shouldn’t use any pointed objects either since they can temporarily or permanently damage your eardrum or cause an ear infection. Some substances recommended for earwax removal can also be dangerous when used in a wrong way. For example, many treatments involve oils, which is a very effective method of ear cleaning, but you have to make sure that the oil you apply into the ear is not too hot as it can also damage the eardrum and the sensitive skin of the ear canal. Also, remember that any liquids used for removing ear wax should never be inserted into the ear with force.
Last, but not least, leaving the ears blocked is as bad as cleaning them too often. If the cleansing system in the ears works properly, there should be no need to clean them more than once a month. It may vary from person to person and some people even claim that they never have to clean the ears. If you have to clean your ears more than once every two or three weeks, it might be a sign that something is out of balance in the ear canal.
Best Home Remedies To Remove Earwax
Salt and Water
Probably the most common way to remove the ear wax is to rinse the ears with a solution of salt and water. It breaks up and softens the wax, making it easier to remove. Take half a cup of warm water (make sure it’s not hot so that you don’t damage the ear canal and the eardrum during the treatment). Add one teaspoon of salt and mix it until it dissolves completely. Soak a cotton ball in the salt water, lie down one one side and squeeze the water out into the ear facing upwards. Let the wax absorb the water for three to five minutes. Get up and tilt the head so that the water can flow out of the ear. Some of the wax will get removed directly and you will be able to wipe it off the outer ear. If you still feel that some cerumen is left in your ear, repeat the process on the same ear and then switch to the other one. If need be, do it again in three to four days. You don’t want to rinse the ear too many times in a row so as not to be too harsh on the skin I the ear canal.
Hydrogen peroxide has effervescent and antibacterial properties and cleaning the ear canals with this liquid gives great results. Mix a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of warm water. Take a dropper and apply the mixture into one ear. Again, leave it in for two or three minutes inside so that it has time to soak into the earwax and break it up. You might feel a gentle tingling sensation, which is perfectly normal whenever hydrogen peroxide comes in touch with the skin as there are almost always some bacteria present inside the ear canal. Put a clean, cotton cloth over the ear that’s facing up and lift the head, then tilt it so that the liquid can flow out. It will soak into the cloth and you should notice some wax debris on it. The rest of it will be easy to remove from the outer ear. You can repeat the process once or twice. For best results do this treatment once a month and you will avoid further earwax build-up in the ears. Don’t feel tempted to do it too often as hydrogen peroxide can irritate the skin in the ear canal and cause redness, itchiness and even lead to infections.
Glycerine moisturises and lubricates the ear canal and makes it easy for the earwax to be removed out of the ear canal. The treatment is very simple as glycerine doesn’t have to be mixed with any other liquids and can be applied directly into the ear. It’s most comfortable to apply it with a dropper. This way you will avoid staining your clothes. Apply glycerine into the affected ear and lie down for 10-15 minutes. The earwax will absorb most of the glycerine immediately, but the liquid needs a few hours to get the job done properly. That’s why it’s best to secure the outer ear gently with a cotton ball and leave the glycerine inside for a few hours. You can even do the treatment just before going to bed and leave it to work overnight. After a few hours take the cotton balls out and rinse the ears gently with warm, but not hot, water. Dry the ears gently with a soft towel. Don’t put cotton buds inside to dry the canals. Let them get rid of the most on their own. If need be, repeat the process on three consecutive days.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Your diet has a direct influence not only on your weight and overall health but also the condition of your skin, including the sensitive skin inside your ear canals. Very often, the excessive production of earwax is ascribed to the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids and increasing their intake can solve the problem. It won’t clear up the existing cerumen, but will help you prevent future build-ups. You can either give your body a boost of omega-3 by taking supplements, which are widely available in pharmacies and health food stores or you can introduce more omega-3 rich foods into your diet. You can find largest amounts of those acids in fish, like salmon, sardines and mackerel, as well as in avocados, walnuts and ground flaxseed. Try to eat these products on a regular basis. These will not only prevent the earwax from building up but also have a beneficial influence on your skin and will help you control the weight.
Another simple and handy method of softening and removing the earwax is through the use of baby oil. A wide variety of baby oils is available on the market and the majority of them are safe and gentle to your skin. Prepare a small amount of baby oil and a dropper. Lie down with one ear facing up and apply the baby oil into the ear. It’s a good idea to ask someone else to help you with the application in order to avoid any mess and stains. Leave the baby oil inside for five to ten minutes. Put a clean, cotton cloth over your ear, then lift and tilt your head so that the oil with softened earwax can flow out. Some remains of the cerumen debris might have to be cleaned with a cotton ball from the outer ear. If you don’t have baby oil at home, you can use mineral oil the same way.
Rubbing Alcohol and Vinegar
The solution of rubbing alcohol and vinegar not only helps dissolve wax but also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, therefore, is a versatile method of preventing various infections from spreading in the ear canal. Additionally, alcohol dries up the ear canal and helps get rid of any moist trapped inside the ear. Both substances may be quite harsh on the skin, though, if not used appropriately. You shouldn’t do the treatment with rubbing alcohol and vinegar solution more than once a month, once every three weeks at maximum. Even though its effectiveness might tempt you to repeat the cleansing more times, you have to remember that frequent contact of the sensitive in the ear canal with alcohol and vinegar might cause irritation and dryness and even end up in an infection.