How (and How NOT) to Solve Your Earwax Buildup

How (and How NOT) to Solve Your Earwax Buildup

by | Jan 27, 2023 | Patient Resources

If your ears feel blocked, you have an earache, or your hearing seems a lot worse than what you’re used to …

… it’s possible you have an earwax buildup in one or both of your ear canals.

Sometimes your body makes too much of a good thing. There’s a “Goldilocks” zone for earwax amounts, because in the right amount earwax is very useful for trapping dust, dirt, and other foreign materials.

Not only does earwax prevent these irritants from reaching too deep into your ear canals, it also has anti-bacterial properties to protect your eardrum and inner ear.

Too much earwax can be a problem, though.

Symptoms of Blocked Ears

Symptoms include –

  • Temporary or sudden hearing loss
  • Stuffy feeling in the ear
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Ear pain

This can happen because your body produces too much earwax, or if you use cotton swabs in your ears.

(We strongly recommend NOT using cotton swabs, as you’ll soon see. That’s because they don’t clean or unblock your ear canal but instead push earwax even deeper inside. This is, of course, the exact opposite of an effective treatment.)

There are much better solutions available, and we’ll discuss them all on this page.

One more thing before we begin: just because your hearing has suddenly deteriorated doesn’t mean you need an expensive hearing aid. Sometimes the culprit is nothing more than earwax buildup.

That’s why you shouldn’t rush out and buy an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid.

These aids don’t require any kind of physical examination, which would allow a professional to spot a wax-induced blockage. Without a visual inspection of your ear canal, you’ll end up spending money on a completely unnecessary hearing aid when a much cheaper solution would have fixed your earwax problem in the first place.

So, what’s next?

If you suspect your hearing problem is earwax-related, but you’re not able to visit a doctor or an audiologist right now, there are some simple and effective remedies you can try at home.

There are also a couple of remedies you should avoid. Let’s start with those first!

Don’t Use These Earwax Removal Remedies

Ear Candling

We strongly discourage using any ear candling product you may see in stores or online. These candles don’t actually clear any blockages. What’s worse, they’re also quite dangerous.

Ear candle promoters claim that ear candling sucks out the earwax and “toxins.”

Yet there’s no medical proof to support this idea. Instead, any proper scientific study of ear candling has shown that earwax isn’t removed, while candle soot is added to your ear (not good).

You can also burn your face or neck (painful). Or hot wax can drip into your ears (this is very painful, and then you’d need medical treatment).

Please don’t use an ear candling “remedy” for any reason. There’s absolutely no benefit and several potential hazards.

If you are ready to have your earwax safely and professionally removed, please schedule an appointment with an audiologist.

Cotton Swab Probing

We’ve already mentioned the most common risk with cotton swabs: they often push wax deeper into your ear canal.

But it gets worse. If you probe too deeply with a swab, you can damage your eardrum and other sensitive parts of your ear.

Please don’t use swabs in your own ears or anyone else’s ears. They aren’t safe or effective and could do more harm than good.

We have much better solutions for you to try instead!

Try These Remedies Instead

Over-the-Counter Ear Drops

Over-the-counter ear drops aren’t super effective, but they can help with very mild cases of earwax buildup.

However, if your earwax buildup is bad enough that you’re noticing hearing loss, then you probably have a significant amount of wax blocking one or both ear canals. That’s not a “very mild” buildup. It’s probably quite severe, and these drops won’t offer much relief.

Should you try over-the-counter ear drops anyway? There is no harm in this method, as it may help soften severe build-up, making it easier to remove when you schedule an appointment with an audiologist.

This solution is cheap and won’t harm your ears. At worst, you’re just wasting a bit of time and money before trying a better solution that will help.

Olive Oil and Related Oils

Olive oil, baby oil, or mineral oil can dislodge earwax if applied properly, and if you have much patience.

They shouldn’t be used if you have a ruptured eardrum or a history of allergies to that oil. Otherwise, they’re safe.

Each oil softens the wax in your ear over several days of regular applications. The softened wax will usually unclog and fall out of your ear.

There are a couple of drawbacks, however. Oils are typically effective for only small amounts of wax, and it does take several days to see results.

Do you want to wait that long?

If not, the Earigator can help.

Let An Earigator Unblock Your Ears

A medical tool called an Earigator is used by audiologists to safely and efficiently remove even the most stubborn ear wax.

Earigators work by irrigating your ear canal with body-temperature water. (Keeping the water at body-temperature prevents any vertigo effect you might feel from water that’s too hot or too cold.)

The water is also regulated at a safe pressure. It washes out the earwax without causing any kind of injury or pain to your eardrums.

It’s fast, too.

An Earigator can do its job in just three to five minutes, and both ears can be cleaned quickly and easily.

It’s a proven device that’s been used on tens of thousands of patients with no adverse effects. (Some patients really enjoy the sensation of the warm water massaging their ear!)

That’s why it’s the ideal solution if you suspect you have an earwax buildup in one or both ears. The best place to find an Earigator and get relief is at an audiologist’s office.

Here’s How We Can Help

An audiologist is a trained professional who knows exactly how to use an Earigator to inspect your ear canals and gently flush out any compacted earwax you might have.

If earwax is causing your hearing loss issues, your hearing can be restored in just five minutes at Audiology Associates.

But what if it isn’t earwax? What if it’s something more serious?

The good news is that you now have the attention of a professional Audiology Associates audiologist to begin a sophisticated diagnosis that’s personalized to your needs.

We have 46 years of experience, and over the decades we’ve seen it all. We’ll be able to help you no matter what your hearing loss issues.

Let us serve you at 13 convenient locations across Maryland. We offer a warm, welcoming atmosphere with family business roots you’ll love.

We take pride in establishing personal connections with our patients to ensure you’re treated right.

To ask a question or schedule an appointment, please contact us at (410) 944-3100.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Melissa Segev Au.D, F.A.A.A.

Dr. Segev, co-owner of Audiology Associates, proudly represents the values of excellent patient care upon which her practice was established in 1977. She understands that to properly treat the patient, excellent state-of-the-art medical testing is required along with acute listening and understanding of the patient’s perceptions of how they are feeling and what their needs might be.

    Request a Callback