How to get rid of ear wax?

I wear earplugs a lot and recently jammed some wax in my ear that just shut the hearing off in that side. I got some OTC stuff, it was glycerine with a peroxide in it. OK this isn’t the exact stuff, but the ingredients are the same. The peroxide is supposed to get a foaming action to help bubble the wax loose, but I never saw any with hydrogen peroxide, always the carbamide peroxide. Not sure if that’s relevent.

Used it for a couple of days to loosen the wax up then irrigated with pretty warm (almost hot) water. I never really got any “plug” out, but did get some wax out with a rolled up bit of tissue. I kept using the stuff for a couple more days in hopes the mother lode would produce itself, never did. Hearing is back, so that’s good.

This is not advice that anybody should do what I did, if in doubt a visit to a doctor is much better than going deaf in one ear. Procede with caution, YMMV.

I do this about once a week. It is unsettlingly pleasurable :eek: .

For the rest of you, all I can say is ear spoon!

The OTC preparations are carbamide peroxide, which is hydrogen peroxide compounded with urea. The oxidizing action is still from the hydrogen peroxide component. I figure if you don’t have any problem with putting 6.5% carbamide peroxide in your ears, you shouldn’t have a problem with 3% medicinal hydrogen peroxide solution, and it’s a bunch cheaper. Note that the hydrogen peroxide solution is labeled for use as a gargle!

I once tried the OTC stuff–without success. At my next exam, the internist recommended office treatment. A nurse came in & did the job.

But–if your doctor suggested a specialist–make an appointment. (I don’t know whether I had a big amount of wax in my ears.)

I once had a health service doctor flush my ears while I was a student, and he followed it up with a drop of rubbing alcohol in each ear to get the water out, which he claimed could lead to infections. He said that he made the same recommendation to the swim team following their practices. Well, maybe so, and it will flush the water out, but it stung like hell.

I’m a little suspicious that the advice to go to a specialist means “No one in this office has the time and/or inclination to lavage the gunk out of your ears”. Unless there is some horrific clinical finding of which we’re unaware, an internist/nurse/physician assistant should be able to take care of this problem in most cases.

I once developed sudden loss of hearing in one ear and went to the urgi-center, where they did the syringe/basin bit, and lo! I could hear again (I won’t describe what they removed, but I briefly considered making an Xmas candle out of it).

I get by fine with a paper clip unfolded to a long U-shape. Gets out the gunk good without pushing it up against the eardrum.

This is not medical advice. Don’t do this yourself. In fact, forget that I said I do it.

This is very interesting to me. I have complained of pain and hearing loss in one ear for years. The ENT agreed that I had some wax, but insinuated that having him remove it would be painful, so I haven’t done it.

I have had to have my ears irrigated several times, about every 2-3 years or so. If you are prone to dizziness and find this sensation to be extremely discomforting as I do, make sure they are using warm water. If the water is too cold it’ll make the room spin worse than stepping off the Tilt-a-Whirl.

That’s the thing that has me concerned about trying a home remedy. I know that the doctor has better equipment and skills to deal with this than me. A big syringe and eyes that can look right in my ear has to beat blindly squirting water up there with a little rubber bulb. Yet, the doctor isn’t even willing to try, he wants you to see a specialist.

I’d go see the specialist, unless it’s going to cost you money you can’t afford to spend.

I have massive piles of earwax that like to hide in my ears. It’s a family trait that my nephew has inherited. While I(don’t do this!!!) use a water pik to get mine out(it works really really well, but I don’t think I should recommend it), his ears are so designed that he has to go to the ENT when his wax has overcome him. And he’s never happy about it.

I’m another person who has to get their ears professionally blasted every once in a while. They tried mineral oil on mine and it didn’t do much so they switched to peroxide. That did the trick. I thought I could hear before but I was hearing things I didn’t know were there.

I go to the clinic so they use the big metal syringe and not the vacuum sucker thingie. One time the clearing was enough disturbance to the ear to get it feeling almost like an ear infection, but that passed.

I know something about it myself: futzing around with the tiny syringes they sell does more harm than good and gives me an ear infection (a real one, unlike the temporary discomfort I mentioned in the previous post). I’d rather have someone who can see in my ear and has a steady hand to ease any resistant wax/tissue out for me. I like being able to hear.

I think the do it yourself option is clear here. Get a $1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide, pour some carefully in your ear, and then have someone piss in it.

What, now?

Are you going to have it bronzed?

[Steve Martin]
The key word here is carefully.
[/Steve Martin]

The OTC kit with syringe bulb is the same thing my doctor used when I plugged it with a q-tip (actually it was the nurse). I purchased an OTC kit and clean my ears a couple of times a year. One thing you can do to soften the wax is just let warm/hot water stream in your ear while showering.

The worst thing that can happen is that the wax doesn’t come out. I also recommend that you plug the sink so you can see what comes out.

I read about an ‘earwax candle’ in Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. I have no idea if its true but apparently you roll up a small piece of paper and stick it in your ear and you turn your head to one side and light it, blowing it out just before it gets to your ear. Is there such a thing? Even if there was I’d go to a specialist, but I’d still like to know.

That story sounds strangely familiar.

Are you sure you’re not me? :smiley:

Here is what Cecil had to say on the subject of ear candling.