28 February 2020

Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance that protects the ears and auditory canals from external aggression (dust, bacteria, insects, swimmer’s ear, etc.). While it usually drains naturally, sometimes the earwax builds up until it becomes a blockage. This can cause hearing problems and generate discomfort. Here are 5 ways to remove an earwax blockage yourself.

1 – Avoid using cotton swabs

Cotton swabs should only be used to clean the outer part of the ear; in fact, they tend to push the cerumen towards the bottom of the ear instead of removing it. This can lead to the formation of cerumen impactions and – in the most serious cases – the perforation of the eardrum. To eliminate the earwax, you should opt for gentler and more effective solutions.

2 – Use oils

Olive oil is the most commonly used oil for removing an earwax blockage naturally, but you can also choose almond or mineral oil. Warm the oil in your hands so that it’s at the right temperature, then pour 3 or 4 drops into the ear canal with your head tilted to the side once or twice a day until the earwax is naturally removed. The oil will soften the earwax and allow it to drain naturally and painlessly.This method can be used as a preventative measure once a week. You can use your shower head (lukewarm and with very low pressure) to rinse out your ear.

3 – Massage the outside of the ear

This simple method can sometimes be enough to remove an earwax blockage. To do this, just gently massage the outside of the ear using circular movements. That way, the impaction will soften, which can help the earwax drain more easily. Once you’ve finished making these circular movements, pull your ear slightly backwards, from the lobe to the top of the auricle. This massage will be particularly effective if used in addition to an olive oil treatment.

4 – Remove the earwax blockage with a warm cloth

This old-fashioned method involves heating the blockage to soften and remove it naturally. To do this, just heat a folded cloth with an iron. Once the cloth is warm enough, lie on your side and put your ear on it. Then, rinse your ear out with warm water using your shower head. You can also do the same thing with a damp cloth for even greater effectiveness (the steam will help the cerumen impaction detach from the walls of the ear canal).

5 – Choose a saline solution

Many saline solutions designed for cleaning the ear canals are sold in stores, but you can also make them yourself. To do this, just mix a tablespoon of sea salt in half a cup of warm water. Then, soak a compress in the solution and let the liquid flow drop by drop into the ear canal with your head tilted to the side. Saltwater can also be used as a preventative measure.

Good to know

All “home remedies” can potentially be dangerous, so it’s best to consult a healthcare professional to make sure the eardrum isn’t punctured before engaging in any self-medication. If your ear is in pain, it’s essential to avoid cleaning it yourself and consult an ENT. Finally, make sure you never put any liquid that’s too hot or pressurized into your ear, or you’ll risk making the situation worse.