Ears are pesky little things. You build up wax, which is a good thing, but if you get too much wax it can be a very painful thing. Sure, the wax it supposed to work its way out on its own, so ideally your ears should require no care at all. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Wax build up can be very uncomfortable, lead to temporary hearing loss, and cause ringing in your ears. So what can you do about it?
Cleaning Your Ears – Or Not?
First, the best way to avoid wax build up is to prevent it in the first place. As previously mentioned, this should require very little effort on your part. Your ears are self-cleaning and you are better off just leaving them alone.
However, many people grab of a cotton swab or other small object to try to clean their ears. If you are one of these people, stop immediately. Any object you put into your ear can cause much more damage than good. Not only is the skin in your ear extra sensitive and prone to scratches and tears, you may actually push the wax further in your ear, making it even harder to remove.
Remove The Wax
If your earwax is causing you pain, there a few things you can try at home to try to remove it. As with any home remedy, check with your doctor to make sure they are safe for your specific situation.
Ear Candling: The concept is that the heat and steam created by the candle gets into your ear canal and helps loosen everything up. The process is relatively simple, but you need someone with you to assist. Here is the process in a nutshell:
- Purchase ear-candling candles. They are hollow and narrow and made specifically for this reason.
- Place a towel over your hair and neck to help protect them from any wax or falling ash.
- Light the designated side of the candle and place the other (unlit) end in your ear. When the candle is in the proper place you will be able to hear the crackling of the flame very well and there will be no smoke escaping your ear.
- As the candle burns, have your partner trim it every time the ash mark gets about 3 cm long, making the ash fall directly into a small bowl of water.
- When the candle reaches the “STOP” marking, have your partner immediately remove the candle and extinguish it. It will not go out on its own, so this is very important.
Oils: Using oils is another natural way to remove excess earwax out of your ears. Medline Plus points out that it is also great at removing insects (you simply flush your ears with the oil). For basic wax removal, follow these steps:
- Choose what type of oil you want to use. Mineral, olive, and baby oil are all great choices.
- Place the oil in an eyedropper, or other similar dropping-type mechanism.
- You can choose to slightly warm the oil by rubbing the dropper with your hands or placing it close to your body for a few minutes.
- Place 1-2 drops of oil in your ear and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Keep your head turned to the side so gravity helps keep the oil in.
- Get in the shower. The steam with help to remove the oil/wax mix from your ears.
If you have attempted any of the above options and are still experiencing ear pain or discomfort, visit your doctor. They have special techniques that they can use to help alleviate the wax buildup.