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Blocked Ear Remedy: How to Remove Earwax

I've experienced earwax blockage in my ear and have used an earwax removal solution with great results.



My Story

I woke up one day with deafness in my right ear. I confirmed this by plugging my left ear with my finger. No sounds came through the right. Ordinarily, this information would send me into a panic—but this had happened to me a few times before. When it happened the first time, I rushed to my doctor. He ruled out any injury or pathology. Instead, what he diagnosed was something far more insidious, since it commented on my lack of aural hygiene. Too much hard earwax was blocking my ear canal.


Earwax, more scientifically called "cerumen" and sometimes spelled in two words as "ear wax," is a substance secreted in the ear canal. It cleans and lubricates the area and helps fight against bacteria, insects, and fungi. The wax forms in the outer third of the ear canal, and it usually leaves the ear naturally due to jaw motion from chewing and talking. However, cleaning ears with Q-tips, bobby pins, paper clips, wet napkin corners, or a pinky finger can push this wax further into the ear, plugging the canal.

Using Removal Kits

An effective remedy for cleaning your ears of cerumen is through a kit that combines a softening liquid solution and a flushing tool, also called an irrigator. These kits also have additional accessories, such as a basin or earplugs, that are nice to have but not required. You can also buy the liquid and tools separately, which is useful if you prefer the solution from one manufacturer and the tool from another. This will naturally be more expensive than buying a kit.

Under no circumstances should you use ear candles to remove ear wax. No studies prove the effectiveness of ear candles, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers them dangerous.

Earwax Removal Solution

An earwax cleaning solution is typically made with carbamide peroxide and comes in a small squeeze bottle. Find the smallest size that you can, because even 0.5 ounces will last over several cleaning sessions. The bottle typically features a neck that tapers into either a bulb or cone that fits just inside the ear canal. The neck may also have a barrier to prevent the tip from being pushed too far into the ear.

You lie on the side of the unaffected ear and then squeeze a few drops of liquid into the opening of the other ear. You then wait about three to five minutes as the solution softens the earwax. If you have to treat both ears, you can block the first treated ear with a cotton swab or tissue paper to prevent the solution from running out. You can then apply the drops to the second ear.

I’ve personally used Murine Ear Wax Removal Drops for my problem and can attest to its effectiveness. You repeat the application twice a day for four days. You most likely won’t get the wax soft enough for removal until about the fourth or fifth application.

Earwax Removal Irrigator

You need to flush the earwax from your ear using warm water, which can be messy and inconvenient unless you use a flushing tool. Many earwax removal kits have plastic bulbs, which I’ve found to be nearly useless, since they don’t hold a lot of water and don’t flush the water hard enough. Avoid these bulbs.

Look instead for a syringe, such as the one produced by Health Enterprises, which is made of hard plastic. (Metal syringes probably work just as well but are pricier.) The conical tip sprays water down three sides so it does not block or otherwise interfere with discharge from the ear. This tip also prevents the syringe from being inserted too far into the ear. However, the use of cc gradation as labels on the syringe body is a bit puzzling, since you fill the entire syringe with warm water anyway for maximum effect.

To avoid spraying the entire bathroom, I performed the flushing by first standing naked in the shower. Secondly, I filled a glass with warm water and put it in the shower stall with me. Then I filled the syringe with liquid while trying to minimize air bubbles. I then inserted the tip into my ear and pressed the plunger. The water produced the sound of a tsunami as it irrigated my canal. I repeated the process until the glass was emptied of water.

I examined the drops of water on the shower floor but did not find any earwax residue until the second application on the third day of treatment. By the last day of treatment, large chunks of wax exited my ear and plopped on the shower floor. My hearing then returned to normal.

An Inexpensive Option

Having a doctor remove your earwax is the safest and most effective way of dealing with the problem. But this can prove to be expensive, particularly if this is an issue that comes up more than a few times. A less expensive (though lengthier) alternative is to use an earwax removal system as I did.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on September 22, 2012:

Wow, I dont' know how I missed this one. You provide plenty of detail so...if I wake up one morning and find I'm deaf in one ear...I may just attempt to treat myself instead of making a trip to the doctor! The shower tip was especially helpful. : )

L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on September 20, 2012:

Docs will advise you to never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear. This is to make the point, just as you did, not to use small objects into your ear canal because, as you pointed out, you can push the ear wax further down into the canal where it can become impacted, or, if you delve too far into the ear canal, there is the possibility of harming your ear drum.

Great hub; voted up and shared.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on August 19, 2012:

In general, you want to avoid putting anything in your ears, My Minds Eye53.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 15, 2012:

Thanks, I will sure keep these products in mind, should I need them. voted very useful+

Joshua Patrick from Texas on August 15, 2012:

I hope the source of my tinnitus is as simple as this... thanks for this hub!

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on August 15, 2012:

It is a very useful information for everybody, thanks. Sharing with followers.

Emma from UK on August 15, 2012:

My daughters suffer from hard ear wax that gets blocked. The Doctors weren't even bothered.

I have noticed the side effect is they shout a lot.

I am weary of using any kits because they are so young, currently 10,7 and 5. I instead use slightly warmed olive oil to soften the wax.

Nira Perkins on August 15, 2012:

Cool article. Thanks for the suggestions. It's good that you mention those ear candle things, I've also heard they can be dangerous. I've never used one but I've seen them used. Good info and thanks for sharing :)

Maude Keating from Tennessee on August 14, 2012:

We were told by my ENT never to put peroxide in your ears and to be careful using one of those bulbs to flush your ear out because the pressure can damage your ear drum.

I grew up with painful ear aches and ear infections and have the scars to prove it. I was actually deaf for a couple of weeks or so because of a triple ear infection. One on each ear drum plus an inner ear infection. I had my adenoids taken out when I was eleven because they were bad and causing me to go deaf. Today I hear okay but I have tinnitus and a tone deafness. I can hear but a lot of times I cannot understand what people are saying especially if that person has a low voice. I have 2 sisters and a brother who are deaf in one ear so maybe it is hereditary.

voted up.

DragonBallSuper on August 14, 2012:

great info. My sister suffered deafness in her left ear for years. we already visited a specialist and he just say that maybe the damaged was inside since there's nothing wrong when he checked it. she totally cant hear with her left ear..

Suzie from Carson City on June 21, 2012:

Yes....I'm fine....the eardrum heals by itself in time..... but I got one hell of a scolding from the Dr. Thanks

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on June 21, 2012:

OMG, fpherj48, I'm sorry you had to go through that. I assume you're okay by now? Thanks for reconfirming the warning.

Andy Mann from Minneapolis, MN on June 19, 2012:

I don't have a build up of least I don't think so. This subject has popped up in my mind from time to time and some day I would like to purchase one of these kits and give the ears a good 'ole flushing and see what happens.

At this time, this is still on my 'to do' list :) He! He!

Suzie from Carson City on June 19, 2012:

alocsin.....I would just like to RECONFIRM your warning to your readers about "ear candles."

About 5 years ago......I used them to pull what I thought was wax build-up, from my ears......Yes, I did get the results stated on the candles package.

The next day, as I was making my bed......out of the blue, a sudden and extremely SHARP pain overwhelmed me, from deep within my right ear. The pain not only frightened me, but it brought me to my knees.

After about 15 seconds of this excrutiating pain, I felt and heard a loud POP! inside my ear.....and then something wet and warm dripping down the side of my face.

ran to the mirror, to see blood flowing from my ear........then came the phone call...the ear Dr....etc....

DO NOT USE EAR CANDLES???? You may say that again!

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 19, 2012:

This must be going around in the hub community as I recently had the same problem. I was deaf in the right ear, first time I had ever had something like this happen. Thanks for the great hub to treat this!

Tammy from North Carolina on June 19, 2012:

This hub helped me. Thanks for writing it!!!!

Anoop Aravind A from Nilambur, Kerala, India on April 17, 2012:

Thank you for this great information.

Ausemade from Australia on April 16, 2012:

One hub to keep in my list...

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on April 11, 2012:

Given your doctor's impression and this hub, I hope you rely on ear-cleaning techniques that are less "hot."

Micheal from United Kingdom on April 10, 2012:

How did I manage to miss this hub? great advice.

I have used those ear candles and when I saw my doctor he was not impressed.

The candle actually melt's wax into your ear and can burn the insides.

Voted up and interesting.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on April 08, 2012:

I used to get this done by the doc too, Nell, but it seemed a lot of money to pay for such a simple procedure.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on April 08, 2012:

Hah, hah, Robert. In these situations, better to read than listen ;)

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on April 08, 2012:

Isn't hydrogen peroxide too caustic for the inner ear?

Nell Rose from England on April 07, 2012:

Really useful, I used to go down to the Docs and have it done, but now I use warm oil to loosen it, and then find something to pump it out with, believe it or not, a really washed bottle of washing up liquid is perfect! lol! great info, cheers nell

Robert Pummer from Kentucky, USA on April 07, 2012:

Huh? Did someone say something?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 07, 2012:

Aurelio speaks the truth; been there, done that and these techniques are effective. Very informational my friend and well-written. Have a blessed and happy Easter!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 07, 2012:

alocsin, I'm aware of 2 home remedies.

A few drops of warmed paraffin oil being put in the affected ear for a few days to soften up the wax. Then flushing the ear with warm water to remove the bigger lumps that may not have dissolved.

Another home remedy is to put 2 to 3 drops of hydrogen peroxide and follow the same procedure outlined above.

This hub needs to be SHARED.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on April 07, 2012:

I'm sure there are traditional Indian remedies for ear blockages?

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on April 07, 2012:

They worked for me, Tammy. Hope you have good luck with them.

bryanbaldwin from Los Angeles on April 07, 2012:

I was glad to bump into this.

Madeleine Salin from Finland on April 06, 2012:

Having wax in the ears seems like a common problem. This hub is very useful. Voted up!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 06, 2012:

This is very well written. I do suffer from earwax blockages every 4 or 5 years. Though I put wax softener drops, they did not work on a couple of occasions and I had to have it removed from a doctor.

Unfortunately we do not get these self removal kits here. I guess they would come in very handy to people like me.

voted up, useful and awesome write.

Tammy from North Carolina on April 06, 2012:

I have suffered with these and similar ear problems since I was an infant. At this very moment I am deaf as a door knob because my ears are stuffed. I may try this at home and save a visit to the doctor's office. Great hub and helpful tips!

Brett C from Asia on April 06, 2012:

A very useful hub for those suffering. Thankfully I have not had this issue, but knowing how uncomfortable ear problems can be, I think your advice is sound.

Also, did you use a different style on this hub?? Or has Hubpages done an update? Looks really cool!

Thanks for SHARING, up, useful, tweeted and pinned.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on March 27, 2012:

I'm glad you found this helpful, Audra. I'd actually written it after dealing with the problem myself.

iamaudraleigh on March 26, 2012:

alocsin, it is nice to see that you have written info on this subject matter. I have had ear issues all of my life. This hub was very informative and true. Voted up and shared!

Robert Pummer from Kentucky, USA on March 16, 2012:

I wish I had read your article before I wrote mine. Great job ...

Helna on March 09, 2012:

Very interesting and useful information


point2make on March 09, 2012:

Interesting solutions for a common and annoying problem. thanks for the advice.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 09, 2012:

Some people develop more ear wax than others and it can be bothersome. Thanks for this good advice! Sharing this with others and voted useful.

formosangirl from Los Angeles on January 24, 2012:

Alocsin, good useful information. Voted up.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on January 23, 2012:

Let me know how that works out for you barbergirl28.

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on January 23, 2012:

Definitely some good information. My husband has had a blocked ear for the last few weeks. We have the ear drops but I guess we will have to be more on top of it with them to get them to work. Thanks for SHARING!

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on December 22, 2011:

Goodness, Brett, of all the ones to pick for a comment. This was one of the very first ones I wrote many moons ago. Thanks for the comment.

Brett C from Asia on December 22, 2011:

Very good advice. Although I have not had this problem, I could imagine it is very uncomfortable, as I have experienced ear infections before (a risk of scuba unfortunately).

Voted up and useful.

rihsam10 on June 18, 2011:

nice hub.

SUSIE405 from Delray Beach, Florida on June 02, 2011:

Thanks for this really informative information.

Rosalie O'Neal from California on May 31, 2011:

Thanks for the great information! I had this problem the other day and it irritated the you know what outta me!