You may be a believer in leaving your ears to their own self-cleaning because we have been taught that earwax is not dangerous- and is, in fact, quite beneficial for our ears. However, you may be surprised to learn that excessive build-up of earwax poses severe threats to the ears and must be addressed immediately.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, in the United States alone, 12 million visits to doctors’ offices are due to earwax problems. Moreover, there are over 8 million earwax procedures performed.
These numbers could drastically fall if individuals learned the correct way to care for their ears at home. And the easiest, cheapest and safest way to remove excessive earwax is through hydrogen peroxide.
If you need an all-knowing ear-care guide, you are in the right place! Hydrogen peroxide will be your sidekick in this mission of ear-care, so make sure to free it from its dusty old cleaning cabinet.
Why Do Ears Make Earwax
Earwax may not be an attractive feature of our bodies, but it is undoubtedly an important one.
Earwax, scientifically known as cerumen- is a self-produced substance that protects and moisturizes the ears. If it weren’t for cerumen, our ears would suffer from itches and dryness.
But that’s not all that it does! Earwax acts as a protectionist layer for the ears and filters out dust, debris, and dirt. It catches them in its web of mucus and forbids them from entering the premises of your ear.
This proves that it is the best antibacterial antidote for your ears.
A workout for your jaw-usually chewing or speaking- is the best way to get rid of earwax naturally. When this workout occurs, earwax makes its way from the ear canal to the ear opening, eventually drying up and falling out.
This may make you assume that the earwax is formed in the ear canal. However, shockingly enough, earwax is formed in the outer section of your ear.
How does it make its way to the ear canal, you may ask? When you try to clean your ears by poking a cotton swab or something of the sort into the ear, you do more damage by pushing the earwax in further.
Moreover, by inserting objects in your ear, you can rupture the eardrum, causing infections or face hearing loss. Therefore, you must avoid using such instruments on your ears. The best way to clean your ears will be through hydrogen peroxide.
Should You Clean Your Ears
Since ears are self-caring, there is no need for external cleaning forces to be applied to them.
However, in certain circumstances, it would be recommended to provide care for them and regular earwax extraction procedures at home.
This is when the ears’ natural cleaning process fails, and too much earwax builds up. This later leads to ‘Cerumen Impaction.’ Cerumen impaction is when earwax has fully taken up space in your ear canal- and this can occur in one or both ears.
The symptoms of cerumen impaction are as follows:
- Feeling like your ears are plugged
- ‘Tinnitus’ also known as ringing in your ears
- Partial loss of hearing, which worsens as time goes on
- Pain or experiencing fullness in your ear
- Discharge, itching, or a mucid-scent coming from the ears
Factors that can lead to excessive earwax production include:
- Wearing in-ear headphones
- Wearing hearing aids
- Structural abnormalities in the ear canal
If you fit into any of the categories mentioned above, your ears likely produce more cerumen than necessary. If you regularly cleanse your ears using hydrogen peroxide, there is a good chance for you to outrun any severe ear issues in the future.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Your Ears
The clearest indicator that hydrogen peroxide is safe and effective for your ears is that ear drops usually contain various forms of hydrogen peroxide.
One of the most common forms is ‘Carbamide Hydroxide.’ This adds an oxygen particle to the wax, because of which you encounter fizzing of bubbles in your ears. The bubbles indicate that the wax is being softened to aid in the removal of the build-up.
A 2015 study by the Australian Family Physician also deemed ear drops necessary to aid ears self-clean, because of which they recommended it be used as a first-line treatment.
Hydrogen peroxide ear drops are considered a safe option for ear cleansing as compared to ‘Earwax Irrigation,’ which can lead to various complications.
Earwax irrigation is known to be a standard earwax treatment, but according to a 2004 study, the most cost-effective way to clean your ears at home is through ear drops.
Therefore, it can be proven that hydrogen peroxide ear drops are not only the most cost-effective earwax procedures but also one of the safest.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Remove Earwax
To make your hydrogen peroxide ear drops at home, you will need to use a 1:1 ratio of hydrogen peroxide and water.
Make sure that you use this formula to dilute the hydrogen peroxide before using it as an eardrop.
Closely follow the instructions below to maintain the safety and effectiveness of the hydrogen peroxide ear drops.
- Lie down on one side, with an ear facing upwards.
- Apply the drops into your ear canal. If you are using a store-bought hydrogen peroxide ear drop, follow the instructions given on it. If you use a homemade hydrogen peroxide ear drop, insert up to five drops into each ear, two or three times a day, for up to 1 week.
- Lay still for around 5 minutes.
- You may sit up after 5 minutes. Make sure to wipe your outer ear with tissue to soak up any solution left.
- Repeat the procedure on your alternative ear.
Risk of Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Your Ear
Hydrogen peroxide typically does not come with any side effects; however, it tends to have certain risks when too much is used. Moreover, it may be dangerous for people who have injured ears or infected ears.
It may also have side effects on people who have sensitive ears. If this is the case, it would be best to consult a doctor before trying a home treatment.
Low impact risks include:
- A bitter taste
- Temporary whizzing and bubbling in the ears
- Temporary hearing loss
- A case of tinnitus
According to a 2018 study, hydrogen peroxide can result in a surplus of bubbling in the ear, due to which doctors have difficulty examining the inner ear.
Moreover, hydrogen peroxide can result in blistering and skin irritation. If you make the mistake of using 10% hydrogen peroxide, you may cause burns in the ear.
Excessive use of hydrogen peroxide can also result in inflammation within the ear, along with earaches.
If you experience any discomfort in your ear or notice symptoms getting worse, it would be advised to consult the doctor immediately.
What Is a Swimmers Ear and How To Avoid It
Swimmers ear is essentially an outer ear infection, and the infection itself is named ‘Otitis Externa.’
The infection occurs when water gets trapped in the ear canal. The name may have you assuming that only swimmers get it. This is an incorrect myth- however, the swimmer’s ear is indeed more common for those who swim regularly.
Another shocking fact is that the way your ears are formed may determine if you are to be a victim of the swimmer’s ear. Although you can not change the way your ears are formed or curved, you can take specific measures to prevent otitis externa.
According to head and neck specialist Richard Freeman, MD, an essential way to prevent a swimmer’s ear is by keeping your ears dry and clean.
If you are a swimmer, you must also equip yourself with the proper swimming gear, including earplugs and bathing caps.
Although these swimming gears are meant to keep your ears dry by restricting the water from entering, they can also trap the water inside, making the situation worse. Therefore, it must be necessary that your ears are dry before you insert the earplugs.
How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Prevent Swimmer’s Ear
Just as the earwax is a filter to trap dirt, dust, and debris, it can also trap water, leading to a swimmer’s ear.
To remove earwax, you must get a hold of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Fill half an ear dropper with hydrogen peroxide, and drain it into an ear while lying down, ear facing upwards.
Allow it to bubble for a few minutes before turning your face sideways to allow the hydrogen peroxide to drain out of your ears.
You must ensure that your ear canal is fully dry. You can accomplish this by using dry drops or a hairdryer.
If you already have a swimmer’s ears, you must avoid using a cotton swab or tissue paper to dry your ear. These devices can ultimately scratch your ear canal and make matters worse.
If you use a hairdryer, you must cautiously direct it towards your ear canal indirectly and gently.
How To Clean Your Ears in the Shower Using Hydrogen Peroxide
This method is very similar to the one outlined earlier. However, this can be a more thorough ear cleansing method, but it also requires more instruments.
Therefore, make sure you have not only hydrogen peroxide handy but also a bulb syringe.
Before you get in the shower, pour a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into your clogged ear canal. Proceed to lie down on your side or stand straight with your head tilted to the side.
You will notice a crackling in your ear for a few minutes. Unlike the previous method, there is no need to dry out your ear.
Once you are in the shower, gather some water into one palm while filling the syringe with the other hand. Keep your head straight, and gently place the tip of the syringe into the opening of the ear canal.
Make sure the syringe is positioned parallel to the floor. Moreover, you must direct it slightly towards the back of the head. It is highly advised to avoid pointing it towards the front of your head. Directing it slightly upwards is still acceptable.
Release the water into the ear canal, and repeat this procedure of water squirting until the wax is entirely removed.
What To Do if Hydrogen Peroxide Is Stuck in the Ears
It is rare for hydrogen peroxide to get stuck in the ears, but it can happen. Moreover, there may be times when the wax hardens and cannot be removed despite repeated hydrogen peroxide ear cleanse procedures.
In this case, it would be recommended to insert several drops of mineral oil or ear wax removal drops into the ear canal. You will have to wait for a day or two to acquire a softened or dissolved wax. After that, you can repeat the hydrogen peroxide cleanse.
To prevent the drops from draining out of your ear, you can place a cotton ball at your ear opening.
If you have symptoms like Ear discharge, aural fullness, or pain in the ear, you are probably suffering from a middle ear infection.
If you are experiencing intense pain associated with the movement of your pinna, along with ear discharge and fullness, you are probably suffering from an outer ear infection.
If any of the above is true for your case, you must avoid wax dissolving agents at all costs. This is because the wax dissolvers tend to irritate and aggravate the mucosa, due to which the inflammation can worsen.
Moreover, if you are suffering from any infection, you must avoid violently shaking your head or inserting anything inside the ear canal.
Clean and Clear Ears
Hydrogen peroxide will leave your ears looking pristine and glowy.
Now that your hygiene and safety have been checked, it may be time to award yourself with some jewels to adorn your ears. Or you could rock the bare ears look!
Either way, your immaculate ears will gather some attention as they’ll speak levels about cleanliness.