How do I remove earwax?

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Rebecca Gomer, AuD - Audiologist in Richardson
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In ideal situations, the ear canal should not need to be cleaned as cerumen (earwax) acts as a self cleaning and lubricating agent in the healthy ear.  However, at times the canal will develop an abundance of cerumen that will need to be removed.  Especially if you are experiencing pain, loss of hearing in that ear, itching or odor from the ear canal, or a feeling of being stopped up.  The first thing to remember is to not put anything down into the ear canal.  That includes Q-Tips!  There are over-the-counter earwax removal remedies available that may work.  Consult your audiologist or physician before trying this method.  The best recommendation is to make an appointment to see your audiologist or physician for a visual examination of the outer ear.  They will determine how best to remove the cerumen, whether it will be flushed with irrigation or manually removed with specilized tools.  Once the canal is healthy, ask your audiologist or physician about a maintance program to help with future buildup of wax. 

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Alicia D.D. Spoor, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Highland
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Before completing a cerumen (wax) management system at home, visit a healthcare professional first.  In most states, physicians, nurse practitioners, and audiologists are licensed to provider cerumen removal.  When you visit the professional, ask s/he want you can do at home to prevent cerumen build-up.  There are a variety of options depending on your ear anatomy, type of cerumen (e.g. dry, flaky, wet, etc.), and level of comfort.  

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Evan Bernstein, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in New York
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First, DON'T USE Q TIPS!!! I can not stress that enough. You can try peroxide or mineral oil in the ear. If that doesn't work, you can either try your Primary Doctor, ENT, or a trainned Audiologist.

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Dale thorstad hopkins mn
Dale Thorstad, BC-HIS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Hopkins
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States vary as to which professional can remove earwax.  It's not within everyone's scope of practice.  Make sure you see an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist who is properly trained to remove earwax using the proper tools to do so.  If you are worried about it, get a referral to see an ENT doctor.

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Nikki Degeorge Weaver, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Newnan
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I would not suggest wax removal at home until an Audiologist, ENT, or Primary Care doctor can look in your ear and obtain your medical history then answer that question for you.  There are many ways and solutions to clean your ears.  However, there are also several ear and skin conditions that would make some of those methods dangerous.  No matter what, though, do not use Q-Tips! So my suggestion would be to have them professionally cleaned this time, then ask that Dr. the best method for YOU to remove or prevent your wax build-up in the future.  

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Darby
Charles Darby MA, HIS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Little Rock
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There are many methods for earwax (Cerumen) removal as well as many misconceptions.  I hear stories routinely of severe pain or damage caused by using "home remedies" to remove wax.  There are many good over-the-counter proucts available for earwax removal.  However, in most cases, the products only remove superficial wax from the canal.  The problem comes when an ear becomes impacted (usually hardened wax against the eardrum).  Removal of this type of blockage is rarely accomplished with over-the-counter products.  In severe cases of impacted ears, it's best left to a professional healthcare provider that has the training and equipment to remove the blockage without damage to the eardrum.  Depending on the particular blockage it may require softening before removal via currette, vacuum, or irrigation.  Treatment varies by the age and severity of the blockage.  

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Lee Oreskovich - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Omaha
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You can get help from your family physician or an ear specialist to remove earwax. There are also ear drops and wax removal kitso on the market that you can buy.

At the same time, there are many simple natural remedies to unblock and remove hardened earwax from your ears. With any of the home remedies, you may need to repeat them several times depending on the extent of the wax accumulation. However, do not use this remedies if you have a perforated ear drum and get the problem treated by a professional.
Note: Follow the remedies very carefully or else the wax impaction may worsen. If the symptoms persist even after trying the home remedies a few times, make sure you consult your doctor. Do not try to self-treat your condition if you have a hole or a tube in your eardrum.

One of the more effective and inexpensive home remedy is:

Salt Water Rinse. 

1. Mix one teaspoon of salt in one-half cup of warm water until the salt dissolves completely.
2. Soak a cotton ball in the saline solution.
3. Tilt the affected ear up toward the sky. Squeeze the cotton ball to put a few drops of the saline water into the ear.
4. Stay in the same position for three to five minutes.
5. Next, tilt your head in the opposite direction to allow the saline water to drain out.
6. Clean the outer part of your ear with a clean cloth to remove the softened wax.

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