The Five Most Common Ways to Remove Earwax

The Five Most Common Ways to Remove Earwax

by | Mar 18, 2023 | Earwax, Patient Resources

Impacted earwax can manifest in various ways, including the sensation of blocked or congested ears.

While this level of buildup is undesirable, earwax is actually necessary for your body. It’s a natural substance that traps foreign debris before penetrating too deeply into your ear. Earwax prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause ear infections.

However, excessive wax buildup or impacted wax causes various problems, such as temporary hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, or balance issues.

Yet, the primary cause of this issue isn’t usually the earwax itself. More often than not, using cotton swabs is the culprit. That’s because swabs push earwax deeper into your ear canal and lead to blockages. This can often lead to more than just an earwax problem.

It’s important to consult a hearing care specialist if you suspect you have a hearing loss, rather than assuming it’s the case and investing in over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.

Without a proper diagnosis, you may be wasting your money on devices that may not be appropriate for your condition or may not even address the root cause of the problem.

In some cases, what may seem like a hearing loss could simply be caused by a buildup of earwax, which can be easily treated by a professional.

Therefore, it’s essential to seek advice from a hearing care specialist to accurately determine the cause of your hearing issues and receive the appropriate treatment.

So, what are the safest earwax removal methods?

 North Texas Earwax Removal Experts

We’ve compiled the top five methods used for unblocking ears,

including the pros and cons of each approach.

#1 – Consider Over-the-Counter Ear Drops

OTC ear drops can be easily obtained without a prescription and may offer some relief for minor earwax buildup. However, it can be difficult to determine the extent of your condition, so be cautious when attempting to self-diagnose.

Once you suspect earwax accumulation, it’s possible that the issue has already progressed beyond the capabilities of OTC ear drops. This is a common dilemma for individuals deciding whether to pursue self-treatment (often through online research) or seek professional guidance from an audiologist.

While the affordability of ear drops may be tempting, consulting with an audiologist can lead to a more precise and effective diagnosis and treatment.

Compared to the following self-administered treatment, at least OTC ear drops are unlikely to pose a danger.


#2 – Avoid Ear Candling, Please!

The use of a beeswax-coated candle for earwax removal has gained popularity through online instructional videos. However, we strongly advise against it and urge you to exercise extreme caution.

This is because there is a high risk of burns to the skin, ear canal, or hair, and there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness or safety of this technique.

Although the concept is that the heat from the burning beeswax cone creates a vacuum to eliminate excess earwax, there is no scientific evidence to validate this claim. Instead, there is a likelihood of burns or hot wax injuries. Moreover, some sources suggest that the wax left behind after the cone burns out is simply residue from the beeswax cone.

We strongly advise against using this method as it is both hazardous and ineffective.


#3 – Pick Out the Wax Using a Cotton Swab (Don’t!)

For countless generations, parents have used cotton swabs to clean their children’s ears. However, children have always loathed this practice, and they’re more correct than they realize.

The act of twisting the swab inside the ear and gathering as much wax as possible is unmethodical and has a high likelihood of causing wax buildup in the first place.

Inserting a cotton swab into the ear of oneself or another individual simply pushes the wax further inside, which can lead to potentially severe problems if the eardrum becomes damaged during the process.

As a result, it’s not only children who should avoid this technique, but adults as well.


#4 – Olive Oil Is Worth a Try

An alternative method for removing earwax is by applying olive oil into the ear canal.

In small quantities, this approach is generally safe to attempt. Although it may take a few days for the wax to soften and eventually come out, it can yield positive results.

The availability of inexpensive olive oils makes it a convenient solution. However, there are certain risks involved. If you have an allergy to olive oil, it could lead to an adverse reaction.

Moreover, if you have a ruptured eardrum, using olive oil may worsen your condition if it penetrates into the middle and inner ear.

Additionally, the effectiveness of the olive oil method is limited when dealing with severe earwax buildup.

Therefore, similar to OTC ear drops, olive oil treatments have their own strengths and weaknesses.

One minor advantage of using olive oil is that if you already have it in your kitchen pantry, there is no need to purchase additional ear drops.


#5 – Visit an Audiologist

If you are experiencing ear blockage and have tried common at-home remedies without any improvement, the best course of action is to consult an audiologist.

At Denton Hearing Health Care, our team of highly trained hearing experts is available to assist you with all aspects of your hearing healthcare, including hearing loss, balance/dizziness, and pediatric care.

We can effectively remove your earwax blockage and improve your hearing. Additionally, we can assess your hearing loss concerns and create a personalized plan for long-term care, if necessary.


We’re Denton’s Earwax Removal Experts

Taking care of our ear health is crucial, and it is important to be mindful of the risks associated with different earwax removal methods.

While some methods may seem simple and convenient, they can often cause more harm than good. Seeking the help of an audiologist, such as Denton Hearing Health Care, is the safest and most effective way to address earwax buildup and other hearing healthcare concerns.

Our family-centered approach and passion for the community have earned us the trust of thousands of local families.

With over 40 years of experience, why not see for yourself why Denton Hearing Health Care is the trusted source for hearing healthcare in your community?

To find out more, or book an appointment for earwax removal, call 940-387-0550.

Alternatively, visit our Earwax removal page for more information and to locate the form to book your earwax removal appointment online.

You can also contact us by clicking the link. Let us help you solve your earwax problems today!

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Dr. Katie L. Kufeldt, Audiologist

Dr. Kufeldt received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences as well as her Doctorate of Audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology, Texas Academy of Audiology and is certified by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association. She is licensed by the State of Texas to practice audiology and fit and dispense hearing aids.

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