How to Remove Ear Wax Build Up

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When removing ear wax, it is important to try over-the-counter wax removal products or pour a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide in the ear to soften the wax. See a doctor if the ear wax persists with help from a pediatrician in this free video on ear care.

Part of the Video Series: Sinus & Head Cold Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about how to remove earwax buildup. Now, let's start by talking about how to not get earwax buildup. Most people's ears clean themselves naturally. A couple of processes help this alone. First of all, the skin of the inner, of the middle, of the external auditory canal, sorry, I'm trying to remember which part of the ear we're talking about; the skin of the external auditory canal grows outward like a conveyor belt. So, the wax that collects on that skin leaves the ear naturally. Also, those cells are quick, little moving hairs, called cilia that helps sort of push the wax out. So, in most cases, if you're not messing with the ear in the first place, wax tends to come out on its own. The best way is to get wax impacted in the ear and not to try and get it out using a Q-tip; usually that just jams wax further down in the ear. Other people who work in noisy environments and have to wear earplugs frequently may also find that their ears full of wax. What happens if your ear has filled up with wax, what can you do? Well, there are a couple of things are safe to try at home. First of all, there are over-the-counter wax removal products, things like Debrox that is supposed to soften the wax and makes it easier for it to come out. You can also use a solution of warm water and hydrogen peroxide or a vinegar and water to try and soften the wax and then, wash it out just in the shower by letting little bit of water run into the ear and shaking it out. You do not want to stick anything in your ear. In the office, either the primary care physician's office, or in the ear, nose and throat doctor's office, we may try to remove wax in the ear using an instrument, but always under direct observation where we can look in and see exactly what we're doing. It is very easy to damage the eardrum or the tissue of the external auditory canal by digging around in the ear. So, please don't do that. We also have tools and instruments that we can use to washout the ear, but, I would not recommend trying to use a syringe or anything because you may get a little crazy with water pressure there; it's easy to do if there's not somebody else who has some experience with it in charge. Talking about how to get earwax that's impacted out of your ear, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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