Ear Wax buildup treatment by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.
September 4 2016
Earwax is a yellowish, waxy substance secreted in the ear canal. Earwax plays an important role in the ear canal, assisting in cleaning and lubrication. Earwax also provides some protection from bacteria, fungi, and insects. Some people's ears produce more wax than is necessary to protect the ear from foreign matter. About 12 million Americans visit the doctor each year complaining of ear wax buildup. See also information on ear infection.
Benefit of ear wax
Known medically as cerumen, this substance is not "wax," but a mixture of secretions from the outer ear, along with dead skin cells and hair. It helps protect the ear, acting as a self- cleaning agent with lubricating and antibacterial properties.
Excess ear wax effect
A blockage caused by excess wax can trigger hearing loss, earache, ringing in the ears, or a sensation of fullness or scratching in the ear.
Ear wax treatment
Several ear wax softeners are used including mineral oil or baby oil, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The ear can also be irrigated with a syringe full of water at body temperature directed into the ear, then drained.
When ear wax builds up to the point of causing symptoms, people should turn to their doctors rather than the old-fashioned cotton swab. Dr. Peter Roland says effective treatments for ear wax include wax-dissolving agents and ear "irrigation," where a doctor uses a jet of warm water to flush out the wax. People should not use cotton swabs, which tend to only push the wax farther into the ear. Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, September 2008.
hydrogen peroxide does help soften ear wax, keep your head tilted after applying it in the ear canal for a few minutes.
Medicine over the counter
Debrox is a good ear wax softener.
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2014. Earigate™ for softening ear wax: is it safe when the eardrum is perforated? To determine the safety of Earigate™ as an ear wax softening product. Prospective, controlled animal study. Bilateral wide myringotomies were performed in eleven chinchillas. In each animal, Earigate™ was delivered to a randomly selected experimental ear canal as 2 puffs twice a day. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) was used to assess the hearing of the animals before, 3 days and 10 days following the local application of Earigate™. The ABR threshold shifts were compared for both experimental and control ears. The mean hearing threshold shifts in the experimental animals were comparable at all frequencies and at days 3 and 10. No statistically significant differences were observed in the mean threshold shifts for all of the frequencies evaluated, between the control and experimental ears. The administration of Earigate™ to the middle ear of chinchillas did not cause any ototoxicity as assessed by ABR.