How do I know if I have too much ear wax?
An ear wax impaction is a build up of wax over a long period of time. Your ears collect debris and dust like hair cut trimmings, grass clippings, dirt, and sand, in addition to the natural production of wax. The wax and debris form a solid mass inside the ear canal that might start off feeling like water is trapped in your ear and then progresses into extremely painful pressure.
Using cotton swabs, rolled up tissue, bobby pins, or other foreign objects can push the wax farther into your ear canal and increase the pain. If you think you have an ear wax impaction, have someone use a bright flashlight to check inside your ear. Pulling the ear lobe down and pull slightly back towards the neck to get a good visual. I was able to clearly see the impaction in both of my husband's ears.
Method 1: Debrox
The first remedy we tried was a Debrox kit. The pharmacist recommended this product above some of the newer varieties on the shelf. Following the directions on the box, we placed drops in the most affected ear. My husband noticed a bubbling sensation like the drops were dissolving the wax. After a few minutes, he experienced some pain as the pressure was building up with the fluid and wax pressing on his ear drum. The kit includes a bulb syringe that you use to flush the ear with warm water. This method provided some minor temporary relief, but did not fully remove the mass.
Conclusion: This method would work best for treating ear wax build up that has not fully blocked the ear canal.
Method 2: Peroxide and Syringe
After a full day of using the Debrox drops and warm water flushes, we could not get the severe blockage removed from his ear. He ended up going to a local urgent care clinic where they used this method and it worked within minutes.
Place a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the affected ear. The affected person should be sitting up straight and holding a small dish to the side of the ear to collect the water and debris. Have another person use a large syringe full of warm water to inject quick bursts of water aimed at the edge of the impaction. The peroxide gets it loose, the warm water softens it more, and the water pressure should knock it free.
Conclusion: This is the best method to completely clear a fully blocked ear canal
When to Seek Help
If these methods fail to provide relief, you should seek medical attention at your primary doctor's office, urgent care clinic, or even the emergency room. You may have a foreign object in your ear or another underlying medical condition. If you experience nausea, vomiting, headache, or dizziness, you need to be examined by a doctor.
**Products that did NOT work**
We tried a Wax Vac and a Ototek Loop Ear Wax Removal tool--neither of them did anything.
The Wax Vac is advertised as a replacement for q-tips or cotton swabs by sucking out the moisture and wax. This tool did not even have enough power to lift a piece of tissue paper. It makes a lot of noise with no results. It was a complete waste of $10.
The Ototek Loop Ear Wax Removal also did not work. It has a safety guard that prevents the tool from going too far into your ear, but subsequently, it was too short to reach inside the ear canal at all.
I recommend trying the Debrox method and the Peroxide/Syringe method, in that order, to try to relieve your pain as quickly as possible, at home. Don't waste your time and money on the little tools that that don't help.
© 2013 mlowell
Melissa Reese Etheridge from Tennessee, United States on March 20, 2015:
Thank you for such an informative HUB. I think I need to see an ENT regarding my ear.
Subhajit on December 16, 2014:
This is so true, treat others how we want to be trateed, but at my job or most jobs, (in secular or corporate america), my battle is the enemy because I treat everyone with kindness but they do not do the same. Ugh. Ongoing struggle to love those who do not believe, my current boss is not a believer, it is so hard. His mind is not like minded as mine.