Cleaning out my ears

I’ve suffered, on and off, from clogged up ears since I was a kid. It’s worse at night, when I get rushing and thumping in my head and it stops me sleeping. Over the past year, I’ve taken to tilting my head to the side in the shower every morning, filling my ears with the hot shower water and the letting it drain out. This has worked wonderfully - no more rushing noises, no more sleepless nights.
When I mentioned this to my wife, however, she said it wasn’t a great idea, as water could get trapped and cause problems of its own. This has never really happened - when I had a cold once I had a week of it taking a minute or two to clear, but never longer than that, and I’ve never had that “swimmer’s ear” thing where you get an ear full of water you can’t get rid of. She thinks I should maybe do it once a week, so it gets a chance to dry out.

Are there solid reasons that I shouldn’t continue? I don’t stick anything in my ears to clean them out (anymore cough), and it does seem to work.

I can’t speak to the safety of it. Although, if I had to guess, I’d say it might make you prone to ear infections.

Anyway, that’s sort of beside the point. They have saline solutions out there that would most likely be more effective for you if your shower thing works for you.

I don’t use it because apparently, my ear will allow water in, but won’t let it out.

Sort of like Hotel California for ears.

I really don’t think moisture in the ears is a problem in and of itself. Water trapped in the ears is a problem, as your wife said, but the root of the problem is the wax buildup, whether or not there’s water in there.

It sounds like you’d benefit from having the wax cleaned out. You can do it yourself; it’s not very difficult and is generally safe. Plenty of good info is on the web. And of course a physician can do it for you.

To Grrr!: Saline won’t do thing for wax buildup. An ear that lets water in but not out sounds very nearly clogged to me. You’d probably benefit from a cleaning.

My ears tend to build up wax, to the point that my hearing slowly degrades due to my ears being plugged up.

I’ve tried the over-the-counter earwax drops (Debrox, Murine), but they often don’t do enough to get rid of the wax. I now wind up at the walk-in clinic at Walgreens every year or two, to have the person there (nurse practitioner?) clean out my ears with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Takes a few minutes, costs a few dollars, but it’s far preferable to struggling with the drops, and compromised hearing.

I have the same problem and use plain old 3% peroxide. Tilt your head or lie on one side and use an eye dropper to insert a dropper full of peroxide. Let it sit for a few minutes and then use a tissue to absorb the peroxide. If your ears are clogged, and they probably are since the water most likely isn’t getting all of the wax just preventing there from being a full plug, then you will probably need to do this a few times.

As long as you hear the bubbling and popping of the peroxide reacting with the wax, you’ll know you’re not done yet, although even with a clean ear you get some of that so it’s a matter of degree.

OTC ear cleaning solution contain a form of peroxide too so this really isn’t any different from using those products except for the fact that the OTC products have a viscous base that prevents the liquid from dribbling out too easily.

One note of caution, if you do this, wear a junky t-shirt or something you don’t care about since if you spill any of the peroxide it can bleach pigments.

Finally a bit of trivia. Ear wax starts out as a viscous liquid and only starts to crumble and fall out once it absorbs dirt and dust. So your real problem is that you need more dirt in your life.

When my ears clog I use drug store hydrogen peroxide diluted 50/50 with warm water in a bulb syringe. Squirt a bit in one ear, let it sizzle for a bit, then lean over sink with that ear down and squeeze a flow of solution into the ear to flush it out. Sometimes takes several bulbs full of solution to do it. It’s amazing the chunks of stuff that comes out.

Make sure the solution is warm (body temperature) - I used cold water once and the cold chilled my my inner ear so that I just about fell over.

LOL. Reminds me of when I had wax build up. Visiting a friend in Germany and it became really painful overnight. Went to the local hospital in the morning - a Sunday, I believe - put me in a proper chair, fitted this instrument over the ear, switched on the machine and it just shot masses of warm/very warm water.

Totally the cleanest ears in Germany that day. Amazing. No paperwork either.

Just went to an ENT yesterday for my now annual ear cleaning. Takes minutes. My ear wax is soft and doesn’t work it’s way out. Debrox and other stuff just seems to make it worse. They tell me they have a number of patients who do this yearly.

Thanks for the replies, I think I’ll just carry on with what I’m doing, since it works and doesn’t require more action than tilting my head in the shower in the morning.

Back when I was seeing an ENT regularly, not even for anything ear related, cleaning the wax out of my ears was just part of what he did as he was chit chatting with me. I’m sure he did it to everyone. The first time I saw him it was like he was pulling crayons out of my ears, subsequent visits were less notable.

So those of you who use hydrogen peroxide or other methods, how often do you do it?

When I jump in the pool and one ear or the other immediately plugs up I know for sure it is time.

I seem to get to the point where my ears feel plugged up (and my hearing is affected) about a year or so after the last time I’ve had my ears cleaned out.

The last time I went to the retail clinic for earwax removal, the nurse practitioner suggested that I use the OTC drops once every three months or so, to keep ahead of the worst of it.

My doctor recommended something called cerumol to soften earwax. After that I use squirt bulb to clean out the ear. Or my doctor does the same thing, so I don’t think water is a problem.

My ear anatomy is such that water gets in and has a hard time getting out. Once at camp it happened, and the counselor wouldn’t let me lie on my ear till it drained, and made me go back in the pool. The water got trapped and caused something called “Glue-ear.” I had a clogged ear for over a week until my mother took me to an ENT.

I had my ears unblocked with a instrument, and also had to take decongestants and an antibiotic. I was told absolutely no swimming without earplugs.

I was plagued with problems in the ear that had been infected until many years later I had my tonsils and adenoids out. Turns out the massive infection I’d had from that water had damaged the adenoid on that side, and the damage led to my more easily getting infections, which then led to damage of the other adenoid and tonsils. My ears used to stop up every time I got an infection, after a while, and I couldn’t fly without them stopping up, and giving me headaches.

Now, that was pool water, which chlorine aside, had loads of bacteria in it. It also was relatively cool.

You are using pretty clean water, and I assume it’s warm. You are not spraying a lot of bacteria into your ears, and you are having the benefit of the water evaporating.

Just a couple of things to consider, though.

If, at any time the water does NOT immediately drain out of your ear, go to the doctor THE SAME DAY. Don’t wait. You do not want to develop Glue-ear. It’s basically sticky dead bacteria and pus behind your eardrum.

never had peroxide bleach a thing. I use it for lots of things, its a great cleaner!

Way cool.

My ears drain now, never used to. Mine stay pretty clear. I grew up in a pool and I never had problems with water staying in my ears. Usually a relatively short time.

Interesting. It only happened to me once with a piece of luggage. I spilled peroxide on it and it changed from dark brown to light brown in the spots that it touched. I’ll have to experiment at some point and try dipping an old rag into some to see what happens. Maybe it depends on the material and whether or not it’s colorfast?

I use Walgreens Ear Wax Removal Drops (same stuff as Debrox) and flush it out with a rubber bulb syringe twice a year. I started this on recommendation of an ENT. My doctor referred me to him when I had a severe otitis externa once. After antibiotics and steroids had calmed it down, one thing he did was to clean my ear out with a big metal syringe. That was when he recommended using the drops.

One of his specific instructions was that, when I flush my ears with the rubber bulb syringe, I should squeeze the syringe as hard as I could. This is not what the ear drop directions say, but he’s the doctor.

I use a large type, partially opened up paper clip myself, and use it right after a shower when wax is moist & soft.