Known in the medical world as cerumen, earwax is naturally produced by glands situated in the ear canal. This substance protects the ear canal as it has lubricating and antibacterial properties. Earwax is present in order to protect the ears and all the delicate structures within from microbes and small foreign objects.
Removing earwax is not necessary because your ears can do that for you. However, there are instances when they collect deep in the ear canal, resulting in impaction. Such problem can be brought about by factors like the use of cotton swabs or any other pointed object such as hair clips which drive earwax deep into the ear canal. It can also be due to the use of earplugs and hearing aids. There are instances, too, when the problem is caused by an infection or overproduction of cerumen due to trauma or deficiency in certain nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
Impacted earwax tends to produce symptoms such as ear canal itching, a full sensation in the ear, ringing, dizziness, pain and diminished hearing. It’s not unlikely for a discharge to be observed too.
There are a handful of safe and effective home remedies for the removal of excessive or impacted earwax. Some of the best ones in unblocking the ear canal by softening hardened earwax are as follows:
Salt Water or Saline Solution
Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Grab a cotton ball, dip it in the saline solution, tilt the head so that the affected ear is pointed to the ceiling, and squeeze the cotton ball to instill some of the solution in it. Maintain such position for a couple of minutes, then tilt your head to the opposite direction to flush out the solution as well as earwax.
Another very simple solution to impacted earwax is by placing a few drops of baby oil in the ear canal. Allow it to stay there for a few minutes so that it may penetrate the hardened earwax, making them soft and easy to remove. Plug the ear’s opening with a cotton ball to prevent the baby oil from oozing out. Afterwards, tilt your head so that the affected ear is pointed to the floor. This will allow the baby oil to drain out together with the softened earwax.
Grab a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and mix some of it with equal amounts of water. Make sure that you opt for hydrogen peroxide that’s 3% or less in order to avoid unnecessary problems while doing this DIY excessive earwax removal. Place a few drops in the affected ear by tilting your head. After a few minutes, tilt your head towards the opposite direction to allow the diluted hydrogen peroxide to ooze out together with excessive earwax.
Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol
In a small bowl, combine equal amounts of vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Reach for a cotton ball, dunk it in the solution, tilt your head so that the ear with the impacted earwax is facing the ceiling, and squeeze the cotton ball to place a few drops of the solution in the ear canal. Hold this position for a few minutes, and then tilt your head towards the other direction.
Every DIY aficionado knows that baking soda has so many uses. This white powder may also be used to help soften and remove impacted earwax. All you need to do is combine 1/4 teaspoon of it with a couple of teaspoons of water. Instill this mixture into the ear canal using a medicine dropper. Let it stay there for a few minutes before draining.