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Blocked Ear Remedy: How to Remove Earwax

Updated on December 12, 2016
alocsin profile image

The author is a writer, playwright, director, and actor based in Orange County, California.

Earwax | Source

My Story

I woke up one day with deafness in my right ear. I confirmed this by plugging my left ear with my finger. No sounds came through the right. Ordinarily, this information would send me into a panic—but this had happened to me a few times before. When it happened the first time, I did rush to my doctor. He ruled out any injury or pathology. Instead, what he diagnosed was something far more insidious, since it commented on my lack of aural hygiene. Too much hard earwax was blocking my ear canal.

If you suspect ear blockage, consult your doctor to ensure that nothing more serious is going on.


Earwax, more scientifically called “cerumen” and sometimes spelled in two words as “ear wax,” is a substance secreted in the ear canal. It cleans and lubricates the area, and helps fight against bacteria, insects, and fungi. The wax forms in the outer third of the ear canal, and it usually leaves the ear naturally due to jaw motion from chewing and talking. However, cleaning ears with Q-tips, bobby pins, paper clips, wet napkin corners, or a pinky finger, can push this wax further into the ear, plugging the canal.

Other symptoms of too much earwax: tinnitus (ringing in the ear), ear aches, itching, and leaking of wax.

Using Removal Kits

An effective remedy for cleaning your ears of cerumen is through a kit that combines a softening liquid solution and a flushing tool, also called an irrigator. Such kits also have additional accessories such as basin or earplugs that are nice to have, but not required. You can also buy the liquid and tools separately, which is useful if you prefer the solution from one manufacturer and the tool from another. This will naturally be more expensive than buying a kit.

Under no circumstances should you use ear candles to remove ear wax. No studies prove the effectiveness of ear candles and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers them dangerous.

Tip: To save money, buy a kit that combines all the necessary tools.

Earwax Removal Solution

Earwax cleaning solution is typically made with carbamide peroxide, and comes in a small squeeze bottle. Find the smallest size that you can, because even 0.5 ounces will last over several cleaning sessions. The bottle typically features a neck that tapers into either a bulb, or cone that fits just inside the ear canal. The neck may also have a barrier to prevent the tip from being pushed too far into the ear.

You lay on the side of the unaffected ear, and then squeeze a few drops of liquid into the opening of the other ear. You then wait about three to five minutes as the solution softens the earwax. If you have to treat both ears, you can block the first treated ear with a cotton swab or tissue paper to prevent the solution from running out. You can then apply the drops to the second ear.

I’ve personally used Murine Ear Drops for my problem and can attest to its effectiveness. You repeat the application twice a day for four days. You most likely won’t get the wax soft enough for removal until about the fourth or fifth application.

Tip: Look for the smallest bottle you can. Once exposed to air, carbamide peroxide, the main ingredient for earwax removal solution, can lose its effectiveness after several days.

Earwax Remoal Irrigator

You need to flush the earwax from your ear using warm water, which can be messy and inconvenient unless you using a flushing tool. Many earwax removal kits have plastic bulbs, which I’ve found to be nearly useless, since they don’t hold a lot of water, and don’t flush the water hard enough. Avoid these bulbs.

Look instead for a syringe, such as the one produced by Health Enterprises, which is made of hard plastic. (Metal syringes probably work just as well but are pricier.) The conical tip sprays water down three sides, so it does not block or otherwise interfere with discharge from the ear. This tip also prevents the syringe from being inserted too far into the ear. However, the use of cc gradation as labels on the syringe body is a bit puzzling, since you fill the entire syringe with warm water anyway for maximum effect.

To prevent from spraying the entire bathroom, I performed the flushing by first standing naked in the shower. Secondly, I filled a glass with warm water and put it in the shower stall with me. Then I filled the syringe with liquid, while trying to minimize air bubbles. I then inserted the tip into my ear and pressed the plunger. The water produced the sound of a tsunami as it irrigated my canal. I repeated the process until the glass was emptied of water.

I examined the drops of water on the shower floor, but did not find any earwax residue until the second application on the third day of treatment. By the last day of treatment, large chunks of wax exited my ear and plopped on the shower floor. My hearing then returned to normal.

Tip: Continue the treatment as specified on the instructions because you probably won’t remove the earwax until the final day. Do not exceed the recommended time period. If your earwax remains a problem after you’ve completed all days of treatment, consult a doctor.

Final Thoughts

Having a doctor remove your earwax is the safest and most effective way of dealing with the problem. But this can prove to be expensive, particularly if this is an issue that comes up more than a few times. A more inexpensive, though lengthier, alternative is to use an earwax removal system, like I did.

Clean your ears this way


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    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, I dont' know how I missed this one. You provide plenty of detail so...if I wake up one morning and find I'm deaf in one ear...I may just attempt to treat myself instead of making a trip to the doctor! The shower tip was especially helpful. : )

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Docs will advise you to never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear. This is to make the point, just as you did, not to use small objects into your ear canal because, as you pointed out, you can push the ear wax further down into the canal where it can become impacted, or, if you delve too far into the ear canal, there is the possibility of harming your ear drum.

      Great hub; voted up and shared.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      In general, you want to avoid putting anything in your ears, My Minds Eye53.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks, I will sure keep these products in mind, should I need them. voted very useful+

    • GoForTheJuggler profile image

      Joshua Patrick 5 years ago from Texas

      I hope the source of my tinnitus is as simple as this... thanks for this hub!

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      It is a very useful information for everybody, thanks. Sharing with followers.

    • Ddraigcoch profile image

      Emma 5 years ago from UK

      My daughters suffer from hard ear wax that gets blocked. The Doctors weren't even bothered.

      I have noticed the side effect is they shout a lot.

      I am weary of using any kits because they are so young, currently 10,7 and 5. I instead use slightly warmed olive oil to soften the wax.

    • nmdonders profile image

      nmdonders 5 years ago

      Cool article. Thanks for the suggestions. It's good that you mention those ear candle things, I've also heard they can be dangerous. I've never used one but I've seen them used. Good info and thanks for sharing :)

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      My Minds Eye53 5 years ago from Tennessee

      We were told by my ENT never to put peroxide in your ears and to be careful using one of those bulbs to flush your ear out because the pressure can damage your ear drum.

      I grew up with painful ear aches and ear infections and have the scars to prove it. I was actually deaf for a couple of weeks or so because of a triple ear infection. One on each ear drum plus an inner ear infection. I had my adenoids taken out when I was eleven because they were bad and causing me to go deaf. Today I hear okay but I have tinnitus and a tone deafness. I can hear but a lot of times I cannot understand what people are saying especially if that person has a low voice. I have 2 sisters and a brother who are deaf in one ear so maybe it is hereditary.

      voted up.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      great info. My sister suffered deafness in her left ear for years. we already visited a specialist and he just say that maybe the damaged was inside since there's nothing wrong when he checked it. she totally cant hear with her left ear..

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Yes....I'm fine....the eardrum heals by itself in time..... but I got one hell of a scolding from the Dr. Thanks

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      OMG, fpherj48, I'm sorry you had to go through that. I assume you're okay by now? Thanks for reconfirming the warning.

    • Andy Mann profile image

      Andy Mann 5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      I don't have a build up of wax...at least I don't think so. This subject has popped up in my mind from time to time and some day I would like to purchase one of these kits and give the ears a good 'ole flushing and see what happens.

      At this time, this is still on my 'to do' list :) He! He!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      alocsin.....I would just like to RECONFIRM your warning to your readers about "ear candles."

      About 5 years ago......I used them to pull what I thought was wax build-up, from my ears......Yes, I did get the results stated on the candles package.

      The next day, as I was making my bed......out of the blue, a sudden and extremely SHARP pain overwhelmed me, from deep within my right ear. The pain not only frightened me, but it brought me to my knees.

      After about 15 seconds of this excrutiating pain, I felt and heard a loud POP! inside my ear.....and then something wet and warm dripping down the side of my face.

      ran to the mirror, to see blood flowing from my ear........then came the phone call...the ear Dr....etc....

      DO NOT USE EAR CANDLES???? You may say that again!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This must be going around in the hub community as I recently had the same problem. I was deaf in the right ear, first time I had ever had something like this happen. Thanks for the great hub to treat this!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      This hub helped me. Thanks for writing it!!!!

    • anusujith profile image

      Anoop Aravind A 5 years ago from Nilambur, Kerala, India

      Thank you for this great information.

    • Ausemade profile image

      Ausemade 5 years ago from Australia

      One hub to keep in my list...

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Given your doctor's impression and this hub, I hope you rely on ear-cleaning techniques that are less "hot."

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      How did I manage to miss this hub? great advice.

      I have used those ear candles and when I saw my doctor he was not impressed.

      The candle actually melt's wax into your ear and can burn the insides.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I used to get this done by the doc too, Nell, but it seemed a lot of money to pay for such a simple procedure.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Hah, hah, Robert. In these situations, better to read than listen ;)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Isn't hydrogen peroxide too caustic for the inner ear?

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Really useful, I used to go down to the Docs and have it done, but now I use warm oil to loosen it, and then find something to pump it out with, believe it or not, a really washed bottle of washing up liquid is perfect! lol! great info, cheers nell

    • Robert Pummer profile image

      Robert Pummer 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Huh? Did someone say something?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aurelio speaks the truth; been there, done that and these techniques are effective. Very informational my friend and well-written. Have a blessed and happy Easter!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      alocsin, I'm aware of 2 home remedies.

      A few drops of warmed paraffin oil being put in the affected ear for a few days to soften up the wax. Then flushing the ear with warm water to remove the bigger lumps that may not have dissolved.

      Another home remedy is to put 2 to 3 drops of hydrogen peroxide and follow the same procedure outlined above.

      This hub needs to be SHARED.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'm sure there are traditional Indian remedies for ear blockages?

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      They worked for me, Tammy. Hope you have good luck with them.

    • bryanbaldwin profile image

      bryanbaldwin 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I was glad to bump into this.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 5 years ago from Finland

      Having wax in the ears seems like a common problem. This hub is very useful. Voted up!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This is very well written. I do suffer from earwax blockages every 4 or 5 years. Though I put wax softener drops, they did not work on a couple of occasions and I had to have it removed from a doctor.

      Unfortunately we do not get these self removal kits here. I guess they would come in very handy to people like me.

      voted up, useful and awesome write.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I have suffered with these and similar ear problems since I was an infant. At this very moment I am deaf as a door knob because my ears are stuffed. I may try this at home and save a visit to the doctor's office. Great hub and helpful tips!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      A very useful hub for those suffering. Thankfully I have not had this issue, but knowing how uncomfortable ear problems can be, I think your advice is sound.

      Also, did you use a different style on this hub?? Or has Hubpages done an update? Looks really cool!

      Thanks for SHARING, up, useful, tweeted and pinned.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I'm glad you found this helpful, Audra. I'd actually written it after dealing with the problem myself.

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      alocsin, it is nice to see that you have written info on this subject matter. I have had ear issues all of my life. This hub was very informative and true. Voted up and shared!

    • Robert Pummer profile image

      Robert Pummer 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I wish I had read your article before I wrote mine. Great job ...

    • Iamsam profile image

      Iamsam 5 years ago

      Very interesting and useful information


    • point2make profile image

      point2make 5 years ago

      Interesting solutions for a common and annoying problem. thanks for the advice.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Some people develop more ear wax than others and it can be bothersome. Thanks for this good advice! Sharing this with others and voted useful.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Alocsin, good useful information. Voted up.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Let me know how that works out for you barbergirl28.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Definitely some good information. My husband has had a blocked ear for the last few weeks. We have the ear drops but I guess we will have to be more on top of it with them to get them to work. Thanks for SHARING!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Goodness, Brett, of all the ones to pick for a comment. This was one of the very first ones I wrote many moons ago. Thanks for the comment.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Very good advice. Although I have not had this problem, I could imagine it is very uncomfortable, as I have experienced ear infections before (a risk of scuba unfortunately).

      Voted up and useful.

    • rihsam10 profile image

      rihsam10 6 years ago

      nice hub.

    • SUSIE405 profile image

      SUSIE405 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      Thanks for this really informative information.

    • daborn7 profile image

      daborn7 6 years ago from California

      Thanks for the great information! I had this problem the other day and it irritated the you know what outta me!