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Dissolving Earwax

JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
edited May 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
So I was cleaning my ears with a cotton cuetip and I feel like I got some wax stuck way back there. I cant hearout of that ear very well and it is annoying.

Know of any good ways to clean it out/dissolve it that preferably does not involve buying the 15 dollar ear kits at the Rx?

edit: will alcohol work?

JebusUD on
You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!

Posts

  • corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    You can buy hydrogen peroxide solution or whatever that will get rid of it at a pharmacist. I'd really avoid cuetip things, poking your ear is asking for issues. Dissolve that wax out, poking will make it worse.

    Or you can get an ENT surgeon to hoover it out of your ears with a special little vacuum cleaner. It's so worth it.

    Ad Astra Per Aspera
  • [Michael][Michael] Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I think the best bet is the "ear kit", though I never paid 15 dollars for them (I paid about $3.00). I recently had a problem with this and my doctor said I was on the right track by using a 6.5% carbamide peroxide ear wax cleaner (not that you need to see a doctor about it; I also had an ear infection). It softens/loosens ear wax after a couple of uses and it'll either come out with the excess ear wax cleaner or you can shoot some water from the shower into your ears. It's the same thing they'd do at a doctor's office, though they have stronger cleaning solution (loosens it in 1 application/5 minutes versus 1-4 days) and a fancy water-sprayer-thing.

    No idea if alcohol will work, I've only really seen it in swimmer's ear drops. Also yeah, Q-tips are generally not so great for ear wax cleaning as you can poke the wrong things in there and they often just push wax further down the ear canal.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Hydrogen peroxide takes care of it nicely (though it doesn't bother me, some people have said it's better to mix it 50/50 with lukewarm water).

  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Well, ive got some hydrogen peroxide too. It says "aids in the removal of phlegm,mucus, or other secretions associated with occasional sore mouth"

    Dunno if it will work for ears though. Suppose it would kill me though.

    edit:beated. alright ill try me some peroxide.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    You should get one of these.

    300px-Mimikaki_take.jpg

    I was very sceptical at first, but I've used one for years and they're great.

    Japanese ear spoon, or Mimikaki. Even in the US, I bet you can buy them at any Asian goods store.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • MephistophelesMephistopheles Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    After having one of the most painful ear infections ever, which was caused by sticking Q-tips in my ear, I have vowed off ever sticking things in my ears again. I'll let a second party (ie a doctor) do so, but not being able to see mainly results in major problems.

    All Q-tips do is push earwax further back into your ear canal (like tamping a canon), which leads to blockages, etc, as I'm sure you are now currently aware.

    Nothing that will "dissolve" earwax is safe to put in your ears, but hydrogen peroxide can help loosen and lift the earwax out. Once again I would suggest letting a doctor do this for you. I would stay away from any "home remedies", as they are far more likely to do damage than to help.

    "Friends are just enemies in reverse."
    - Gary Busey
    A Glass, Darkly
  • Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Frequent and correct cotton swab usage wont push ear wax back and cause problems, I've used them frequently for years and have had no ear wax problems.

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Go to your pharmacist and ask for an oral 10cc syringe. It should look something like this: 2139.jpg

    It's important to note that there is no needle. If they try to give you something that has a needle in it, refuse. You don't want to be poking needles into your ear.

    Now, once you get your 10cc oral syringe, you fill that sucker with lukewarm water and then position it in your ear. With the water filled and positioned, you spray that syringe like a super-soaker right into your ear. You do this repeatedly, preferably over some kind of bowl or sink (so that the water will come out of the ear and go into the bowl/sink). After awhile, depending on how clean you keep your ears, a crapload of dry skin and/or wax will come out. It may take awhile for this to happen, and in the interim it might seem like it gets worse: you just gotta see it through to the end.

    After you've done this, and your ears are nice and clean from the water, you are going to want to splurge and get yourself a big bottle of nice and very thick olive oil. Every day after you shower from now on, after you dry yourself, you are going to water to get a finger full of oil and apply it to your ear by sticking your finger with the oil on it into the ear - you must do this carefully, lest you damage the ear in some way. You don't want to put a lot of it in, nor do you want to put too little.

    The olive oil will prevent wax build-up in the future, and will also prevent any kind of dry skin flaking off and becoming an issue (it does the same thing as wax).

    That should help you.

    Now, do not, under any circumstances, use a q-tip or stick any kind of object into your ear. You will damage your ear drum or give yourself ear infections, which will then damage your ability to hear things. If you have wax, use the method I described above. If it's anything else, take that shit to the doctor straight away.

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • NightDragonNightDragon Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Forbe! wrote: »
    Frequent and correct cotton swab usage wont push ear wax back and cause problems, I've used them frequently for years and have had no ear wax problems.

    Same here. I would imagine the "incorrect" way would be to just jab the thing in your ear...when I use it, I just swipe the Q-tip along the walls of the ear canal in a circular motion, and I twist the swab as I'm doing so...I never push anything back. Works super.

    You will only damage your eardrum if you stick the Q-tip too far back. The reason it says "do not stick this in your ear" on the package is probably for liability issues. Q-tips, however, seem to be the perfect instrument to clean most peoples' ears. My ears never get a lot of wax, though...so maybe it's different for people that have a lot.

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  • Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I think the only way you can damage your ear drum with a swab is if you have poor motor control/try to stab your ear drum.

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Forbe! wrote: »
    I think the only way you can damage your ear drum with a swab is if you have poor motor control/try to stab your ear drum.

    You aren't meant to stuff things into your ear. You will vastly increase the likelihood of infections if you do, and that's why it is not recommended, at all.

    Use the method I described above to get rid of any wax. It's safe, it's what all the doctors use, and it's relatively easy.

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    You are not supposed to stick a Q-tip inside your ear canal; they're for cleaning the outer part of your ear.

    Some people don't have as much wax as other people, so they don't have to worry about it as much. That doesn't make it a good idea.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Thanatos wrote: »
    You are not supposed to stick a Q-tip inside your ear canal; they're for cleaning the outer part of your ear.

    Some people don't have as much wax as other people, so they don't have to worry about it as much. That doesn't make it a good idea.

    You see, thats what I said. But my girlfriend kept telling me to clean my ears. They were working fine for me before. So I was like, what the hell. she does it, I should be fine.

    This only confirms my fear that it was a stupid idea in the first place.

    edit: the thing you get at the store for this is basically the same as that syringe. Except they give you some chemical with it. I tried the peroxide but it didnt really help much. Gonna have to go get the syringe tommorow.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • MephistophelesMephistopheles Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Forbe! wrote: »
    Frequent and correct cotton swab usage wont push ear wax back and cause problems, I've used them frequently for years and have had no ear wax problems.

    Anecdotal advice is how the OP got into this mess in the first place.

    Just because you have ear canals big enough to be able to use Q-tips doesn't mean it is safe for anyone else to do so.

    saggio's advice is quite sound, and the same you would get from an MD (as a matter of fact I have received the same advice from multiple doctors). If, however, flushing does not remove the clog of wax, your next option is to go to a doctor and let him check the ear. Worst case scenario would be him having to remove the clog with forceps (this happened to my mom). Also, as saggio said, once you get your earways clean, you'll want to get a good regimen for ear health going. On one of my follow-ups after an earache, my doctor told me to go to a pharmacy and get a bottle of "sweet oil." It is olive oil that has been further refined (I'd never heard of it). He told me to put a drop or two in my ear after showering, because the earwax I produce is dryer than most peoples. Because of this, my ears have problems voiding old wax, but the oil helps keep everything lubed up, and I don't have problems with buildup or nasty looking ears anymore. Plus the oil has anti-inflammatory properties that keep my ear canals from itching.

    "Friends are just enemies in reverse."
    - Gary Busey
    A Glass, Darkly
  • AphostileAphostile Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I work at a pharmacy and normally suggest (as do our pharmacists) Debrox.

    It's an ear cleaning solution that's OTC.

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  • BetelguesePDXBetelguesePDX Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Aphostile wrote: »
    I work at a pharmacy and normally suggest (as do our pharmacists) Debrox.

    It's an ear cleaning solution that's OTC.

    I second that recommendation. (and I'm a family doc)

    Another thing that helps with particularly stubborn wax plugs is mineral oil ... a couple of drops twice a day for a week or so. Helps soften the wax and allows the normal mechanisms of the ear which expel wax on a regular basis to work their magic on said wax plug.

  • AdrenalineAdrenaline Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Aphostile wrote: »
    I work at a pharmacy and normally suggest (as do our pharmacists) Debrox.

    It's an ear cleaning solution that's OTC.

    I have excess wax buildup in my left ear. Every 6 months or so it will get to where there's enough deep in there that my ear will be completely plugged and I can't hear anything. I put 10 drops of Debrox into the ear, lay on my right side for 15 minutes (this is an very weird sensation -- a bubbling in your ear that tickles like crazy) until it's worked its magic, then use the syringe saggio was talking about and blast lukewarm water up there. Eventually a fairly large amount of wax comes out, much to my relief. It feels incredible to be able to hear again and have that pressure out of your ear. It actually makes me lightheaded and dizzy, which I guess isn't unexpected considering my ear is totally sealed off with wax.

    I've never tried the olive oil method saggio mentioned. Like has been said numerous times already, don't put anything in your ear. I learned that the hard way, the first time my ear was 'sealed off' I tried using q-tips and the corners of washcloths to get rid of the wax, which was of course way too deep to be reached by any foreign objects. I ended up with an ear infection and my ear canal swelled shut. It was awful.

    I will show you fear in a handful of dust
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Syringing is good, though I've always had it done by a nurse rather than do it myself. Make sure you soften the wax with oil or eardrops first, as mentioned by others, as otherwise it sometimes doesn't work very well.

    I'd still recommend you try the mimikaki someday, though - if you look at the picture you'll see the business end (left) has a little spoon, which you use to scoop out the wax. You don't get that Q-tip thing of impacting the wax at all. Like I said, at first I was thinking 'my Mum told me never to stick stuff in my ear', but then I realised how normal they are in the Far East, and realised that the entire nation of Japan couldn't all have hearing problems and be plagued by ear infections. So I tried it, and have never looked back (I get lots of wax, I'm told because of bad skin in my ears).

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Perixode is ok. if you look the chief ingredient in most earwax removal solution is a form of peroxide. It's not great for your ears but once hydrogen perioxde releases oxygen bubbles it just turns into water. Might cause an infection if you don't get the water out but it's hardly a dangerous chemical.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    do you guys with the wax buildup have grey flaky earwax instead of orangeish pasty earwax?

    also, on my way to walgreens or somthing in a minute.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • AdrenalineAdrenaline Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Mine is orange pasty junk but Debrox (or some other ear wax dissolver) and a syringe should work regardless.

    I will show you fear in a handful of dust
  • drhazarddrhazard Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    There are two types of earwax, wet and dry. The kind you have is governed by your genetics. The majority of East Asia has dry earwax, which is grey and flakey, while wet earwax (gooey and orange-brown) is predominantly found in those with a European or African heritage.

    I heard this once and thought it was just another piece of stupid little racism, but it's apparently born out with facts (in that it's a genetic trait that just happens to favor certain groups).

    SCB.jpg
  • seasleepyseasleepy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    drhazard wrote: »
    There are two types of earwax, wet and dry. The kind you have is governed by your genetics. The majority of East Asia has dry earwax, which is grey and flakey, while wet earwax (gooey and orange-brown) is predominantly found in those with a European or African heritage.

    I heard this once and thought it was just another piece of stupid little racism, but it's apparently born out with facts (in that it's a genetic trait that just happens to favor certain groups).

    This is the reason earpicks are popular in many Asian cultures; the type of earwax they produce comes out more easily with gentle poking. From the wiki page on them, several of the designs may not work so well for non-flaky earwax, and they can also have some of the same dangers as q-tips (pushing earwax in farther, etc).

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  • OliveOlive Registered User
    I always use a peroxide solution, but heard that others use different types of olive oil. I had some problems getting the softened earwax out of my ear. Any others with the same problem? Tried to get it out with cuetips, but without success. It seems like the earwax is only going deeper into the ear canal ... used the japanese ear spoon (thanks poshniallo) and now using the earscratcher in combination with the peroxide solution. Slowly but surely getting there.


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