Earwax can build up in your ears even though you can't always see it. You may use a Q-tip often to get rid of it by thinking the earwax will come off on the tip of the Q-tip. However, if you are bothered by earwax, you really shouldn't put a Q-tip inside the ear because that can damage your ears in fact. Then, what is the right way to clean ears that are filled with earwax and how often should you go about cleaning them?
Safe and Best Way to Clean Ears by Yourself
You should use this method of cleaning your ears only after you are sure you don't have a perforated eardrum or an ear infection. You shouldn't clean your ears when you have an active infection. Some typical symptoms of an infection of the ear include the following:
- Ear pain
- Yellow or green discharge from the ear
- Vomiting or diarrhea
After clearing out infection, here is the best way to clean ears:
- Make a wax-softening mixture. You can buy a preparation of carbamide peroxide at the drug store or you can create your own. Here's how you make it. You mix warm water with 1-2 tsp of 3-4 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1-2 tsp of mineral oil and 1-2 tsp of glycerin.
- Make an applicator. You can pour the solution you made directly from the bowl if you don't have any type of applicator. If you have one, use a big plastic syringe that has a plastic tip on it. Put the solution in the applicator.
- Set your head to one side. If your ear canal is vertical, the solution will fill up the ear better. If you can lie on one side, which is preferable. Put some rags or towels down beneath your head so that you can collect any dripping solution.
- Pour the mixture into the ear. Don't put the applicator in the ear. Instead, handle it near the ear when you gently pour the mixture in. You will hear a popping or fizzing sound if you used hydrogen peroxide in the solution. If there is another person present, ask them to see if they could do this part for you. You might miss the ear if you do it yourself.
- Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes with your head tilted. If you can wait 5-10 minutes, this would be ideal. If you had hydrogen peroxide in the mixture, wait until it stops fizzing so you know it has worked.
- Let the fluid drain out of your ear. The best way to clean ears is to let the mixture soak and then hold a bowl underneath the ear and tip the solution into the bowl. You can also collect the fluid with a cotton ball. Don't put any type of cotton swab in the ear canal. Just put it next to the outer ear.
- Flush out the ear. Now that the earwax is soft, use a bulb syringe or plastic-tipped syringe to clean out the soft wax. Do this with lukewarm water. Use an enema bottle with warm water in it if the earwax can't be tipped out. Pull the earlobe outward and upward to open the external auditory canal. This is going to be messy, so do it over a tub, sink, or other type of container. Earwax should flush out easily.
- Repeat the irrigation. If there is a lot of earwax, you may need to flush the ear twice a day for about 4-5 days, but no longer. You can damage your tympanic membrane if you flush your ears out too much.
- Dry the ears. Finish the job by putting a towel up to your ear and tipping the head so that it drains out the warm water. Pat your ear dry with the towel before repeating the process on the other ear.
Here is a video about earwax removal procedure which you will experience when visiting your doctor.
Say No to These Ways When Clearing Ears
The above method is the best way to clean ears, but some people still insist on using cotton swabs. They do this every day which actually only serves to push the earwax further into the external auditory canal. This can lead to blockage of the canal and deafness.
Ear candling is another method you should avoid. Candling is not safe and it can result in injury to the ears. The person using this method puts a 10-15-inch cone-shaped hollow candle in the ear and lights the candle. You can burn your hair or your ear using this method and you can block the external canal with melted wax. The eardrum can also get perforated if you use this method.
So, not try these ways.
Lastly, How Often to Clean Your Ear
Since you have gotten the best way to clean ears, can't wait to apply it? Wait a minutes! You should know how often you should apply it. However, this is hard to answer because everybody makes ear wax at a different rate. Some people make very little wax and some people make a lot of ear wax.
If you simply make a normal amount of ear wax or less, you don't need to clean out your ears at all. The ears have a self-cleaning mechanism and will clear out by itself.
If you make a lot of wax in your ears, it is probably because you have a genetic predisposition to making ear wax. In such cases, you should clean your ears at least once per month. Use ear irrigation, mineral oil, or hydrogen peroxide to get rid of any excess ear wax in your ear canal.
How do you know if you make a lot of wax or not? You know it if you constantly have a buildup of wax in your ears and have hearing loss from excessive ear wax. If you don't have these things, you probably make enough ear wax or not enough earwax.