If you’ve felt as if your ears are clogged up or impacted lately, the chances are that they are – with earwax.

Your ears need earwax. It traps bits of dust and dirt from entering your ears, and it also helps prevent any bacteria or fungi from growing in the ear canal, therefore preventing infections.

But the body can produce too much earwax, which can affect your hearing and balance, feels uncomfortable, and result in headaches.

And if you’ve used cotton swabs to try to get it out, you might have made the clogged up feeling worse because they push the wax farther into the ear canal rather than clear it out.

SIDE NOTE: This is why buying over-the-counter solutions are sometimes a huge waste of money – the impacted earwax could have been fixed in minutes with professional earwax removal.

The internet is full of suggestions on how to get the wax out, but many of these ideas can cause serious hearing damage. So how can you clean the earwax out safely?

As a doctor of audiology and director of clinical services here at Physicians Hearing Care, I will share my thoughts on five of the most common ways to remove earwax and what you should do if you’re experiencing blocked ears.

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1.  Ear Drops Bought Over The Counter (OTC)

One of the most common ways to clear out earwax at home are OTC ear drops, but they usually only work on clearing a small amount of earwax.

There’s really no way to tell how much earwax you have other than by having a professional look inside your ear canal safely with the right tools.

Although OTC ear drops may seem cheap and convenient, it’s much safer to seek help from a doctor of audiology to ensure the safe removal of earwax.

2.  Earwax Candles

Earwax removal candles have become a popular idea on social media, but we can’t recommend them as a safe way to clean the earwax out of your ear canal.

The idea behind them is that you drip hot wax into your ear canal to create a vacuum that will pull out your earwax, but we have seen no signs of this actually working.

In addition to this, the FDA calls this practice “ineffective and risky.”  Many people have reported getting facial burns and ear injuries — such as burst eardrums or ear bleeding — and some have even caused accidental fires.

3.  Earwax Q-tips

This can be even more dangerous than using earwax candles, if that’s possible. So many people think it’s perfectly safe to insert a cotton swab into the ear canal and twist it around.

The warning on the box alone should be enough of a clue as to how much damage you can cause. On top of which, the box specifically states that they should not be put in the eardrum, as they can injure or rupture your eardrum!

Never do this to your children either. They hate it for good reason.

4.  Olive Oil Or Mineral Oil For Earwax

This might work, and it can certainly be used to soften earwax. Drop 2 to 3 drops into your ear canal every day for a week or two, and your earwax might fall out by the end of it.

Oil can be cheap and easy to use, and it is a good natural alternative to over-the-counter drops.

Watch out for any allergic reaction though, and never put drops in your ears if you’ve had ear surgery or a ruptured eardrum. You could damage your hearing permanently.

5.  Professional Earwax Removal By A Doctor Of Audiology

The safest and most efficient option is to have an experienced doctor of audiology professionally clean your ears and remove the earwax. Having helped hundreds of local people with earwax challenges, our expert audiologists here at Physicians Hearing Care are able to help in five locations across East Tennessee.

Ensuring that your earwax is removed effectively and safely is the best choice for your hearing healthcare. Our professionals will do this using either irrigation to push out the wax or a curette to scoop it out.

It’s Your Decision

As you can see, there are multiple options available if you are looking for an earwax removal solution, but the choice is yours on deciding your next steps to achieving better hearing.

To schedule an earwax removal appointment, please click here and complete the form at the bottom of the page. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Dr. Brandy Breeden, Au.D.

Based at Parkwest, Dr. Brandy Breeden is the director of clinical services at Physicians Hearing Care. She graduated from LSU in 2008, followed by her doctorate in audiology at UT in 2012. Upon graduation, she worked for several years at the Knoxville VA, where she performed comprehensive hearing evaluations and hearing aid fittings for retired military veterans. Dr. Breeden joined PHC in 2016, where she continues to specialize in diagnostic testing and hearing. When she’s not seeing patients, she’s ensuring the smooth running of our clinical services across multiple locations.