People with excessive earwax buildup may need to see a doctor.
Ear wax cleaning is a method to remove impacted ear wax to make people feel more comfortable and improve hearing. It can be performed by a doctor in a clinic or at home, with care, by patients who have been instructed on how to do an earwax rinse. It is important to be aware that procedures involving the ear canal can be dangerous for people who do not know what they are doing; a jet of water could damage the eardrum, for example, or someone could push the wax further into the ear.
Procedures involving the ear canal can be dangerous if performed by someone who does not know what they are doing.
In a basic earwax wash, warm water can be used to loosen the wax and then irrigate the ear to remove it. Sometimes a chemical solution can be added if the wax buildup is too dry, hard, or large. Salt water can be used because it is gentle on the ear. The temperature is carefully adjusted for comfort to avoid burning the inside of the ear or shock with too much heat. Typically, a bulb syringe is used for the process as it offers a high level of control as well as gentle directing of the water.
Many people experience better hearing after an earwax rinse.
The patient usually lies with the head on a surface such as a table. A towel is spread underneath as the process can be messy. Fluid will be gently injected into the ear and may be placed briefly to loosen earwax before the patient’s head is tilted to allow it to drain. Several streams of clean water can be used to fully clean the ear, and the syringe can be used to gently suck the water out of the ear. The patient’s head is tilted again to allow the water to drain and the ear can be dried with a hair dryer on a low setting to ensure the water is eliminated.
Cotton swabs should not be used to remove ear wax.
Patients should be able to hear much more easily and comfortably after an earwax wash. Earwax buildup can happen for a variety of reasons, from natural overproduction of earwax to reactions to irritation. After cleaning the ear, the patient can be given information on how to keep it clean, including just using cotton swabs around the ear, allowing the wax inside the ear canal to come out naturally.
Warm water can be used to loosen ear wax during the rinsing procedure.
Potential risks of earwax rinsing can include ear damage from pushing a syringe too deep into the ear, using a strong jet of water, or water that is too hot or cold. Leaving water in the ear can also cause complications as it tends to facilitate inflammation and infection. Patients who have been dealing with too much earwax for a long time may also feel a little disoriented after their ears are clean.