Earwax which is also known as cerumen in medical term, is a yellowish waxy substance secreted in the ear canal of humans and other mammals. Ear wax is part of the body's immune defense system, protecting the ear canal from dirt and bacteria. But when it builds up sometimes causing hearing difficulties or discomfort. Normally, a small amount of wax accumulates and then dries up and falls out of the ear canal, carrying with it unwanted dust or sand particles.
Earwax can be cleaned from the ear, but take care not to damage any of the sensitive parts of the ear while doing so. Experts suggests putting nothing in your ears smaller than your elbow. In other words, no one should use anything mechanical to remove ear wax or any other obstruction from the deepest part of the ear canal. Ear wax normally makes its way to the opening of the ear where it can be washed away. However, for some people ear wax buildup becomes a problem and causes blockage; sometimes regularly and only in one ear. Blocked ears are actually more likely to occur for people who use cotton swabs to clean out their ear canals, as they can actually impact the wax deeper into the ear.
Excessive ear wax can cause different symptoms like earache, a sense of fullness in the ears, decrease in hearing, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), coughing, itching, or discharge from the ear canal etc.
Causes of excessive ear wax
1) The most common cause of impactions is the use of Q-tips (and other objects such as bobby pins and rolled napkin corners), which can remove superficial wax but also pushes the rest of the wax deeper into the ear canal.
2) Narrowing of the ear canal resulting from infections or diseases of the skin, bones, or connective tissue.
3) Hearing aid and earplug users are also more prone to earwax blockage
4) Production of a less fluid form of cerumen (more common in older persons due to aging of the glands that produce ear wax).
5) Overproduction of cerumen in response to trauma or blockage within the ear canal.
In many cases of ear wax respond to home treatments.
Here are few simple thechniques can help you naturally remove ear wax without pain
1) Make sure you don't have an ear infection to begin with. If you have an ear infection, clearing away excess earwax could lead to a perforated eardrum.
2) Arm & Hammer baking soda is a good way to clean the ear canal. Take one teaspoon of baking soda and dissolve it in a cup of warm filtered water. Using a bulb syringe, flush the liquid into your ear. Give it some time and the baking soda will dissolve the ear wax.
3) Warmed baby oil or olive oil poured into the ear with an eye dropper can soften wax that is plugging the ear canal. Put a small amount of oil in the affected ear twice a day for seven days. Then use a bulb syringe to gently irrigate the ear canal.
4) Squirt a dropper full of hydrogen peroxide into the ear canal and wait about five minutes. Flush with water. You may feel the hydrogen peroxide bubbling a little as it reacts to the bacteria in your ear.
5) When in doubt, see a doctor. Draining or removing earwax from your ear canal may not sound like a risky procedure, but it has the possibility of turning bad if you don't know what you're doing. If your ear hurts, don't risk it.
6) Take the soaked cotton ball and squeeze some of the salt water into the ear. A few drops are more than enough; don't drown your ear canal. Wait for gravity to bring the saline solution down through the wax. Tilt your head the opposite way and wait for the salt water to drain out.
7) Another way to remove ear wax safely is to use ear drops specifically formulated to soften excessive wax. These ear drops are usually sold in the pharmacy section of a department or grocery store.
8) Doctor may remove your earwax with a small plastic spoon called a curette, or irrigate your ear with warmed water, sodium bicarbonate, or other prescription-strength eardrops.
Disclaimer*: This article is only for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.