How to Clean the Ears

Contra Costa Hearing Blog

Having problems hearing? Probably the most typical reason for temporary hearing loss is an accumulation of ear wax in the ear canal. If you’re fairly confident that ear wax is the source of your short-term hearing loss, you probably want to clean out your ears. Even though this is a normal desire, it is vital that you understand how to clean your ears safely, without causing hearing or ear canal damage.

To emphasize safety when cleaning your ears, we will begin with what not to do. Avoid the use of cotton swabs or any other foreign objects that you insert into your ears, which can cause the ear wax to compress further. Likewise, do not use any kind of instrument that shoots a stream of pressurized water into your ears as this can rupture the eardrum. Finally, if you suspect either an ear infection or a perforated eardrum, do not try to clean your ears at home. Have a specialist do it. Warning signs suggesting a possible infection or punctured ear drum include vomiting or diarrhea, fluid draining from the ears, ear pain and fever.

Cleaning your ears properly at home is possible with a rinse solution and a syringe or bulb from your local drugstore. Such solutions (known as carbamide peroxide) can be obtained at drug stores; you can also mix your own by combining equal amounts of mineral oil, glycerin and 3-4%.

To use this solution, it is recommended to lay down on your side on top of a towel to catch any drips or lean over a bowl or basin or sink; then you simply squeeze the solution lightly into each ear, trying to avoid touching the ear with the bulb or syringe. Allow the carbamide peroxide solution to stay in your ear for a couple minutes and then repeat the process with the other side.

The solution will loosen and soften the accrued ear wax so it can be washed out. Use lukewarm water to wash each ear and towel dry. Again, do not insert anything into the ear when drying. You can repeat this process twice daily for 2-3 days if your ears still feel clogged. If the situation continues, check with an hearing instrument specialist or hearing instrument specialist for help.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.