Blockage of the outer ear canal due to an accumulation of ear wax is among the most typical causes of temporary hearing loss. People who have encountered this, and experienced a reduced ability to hear, generally want to find out how to clean out their ears to prevent it. The real question is the best way to do this safely, and without causing damage to the delicate tissues of your ear or your ability to hear.
To emphasize health and safety when cleaning your ears, we will start with what not to do. Avoid the use of cotton swabs, Q-tips or any other foreign objects that you insert into your ears, which can cause the ear wax to compress further. Also, don’t use any instrument that injects a stream of pressurized water into your ears, such as a WaterPik, because this can perforate the ear drum. And, if you believe you might have either a ruptured eardrum or an ear infection, don’t attempt to clean your ears yourself. Have a hearing specialist do it right. Signs and symptoms of ear infections include ear pain, vomiting or diarrhea, fluid draining from the ears and fever.
Cleaning your ears safely at home can be done with a rinse solution and a syringe or bulb from your local drugstore. Buy the rinse solution (typically carbamide peroxide) at a local pharmacy or blend your own by combining equal amounts glycerin, mineral oil and 3-4%.
When applying this solution, it is best to lay down on your side over a towel or lean over a sink; then you simply squeeze the carbamide peroxide solution carefully into each ear, ideally without touching the ear with the syringe or bulb. Keep the solution in each ear for a couple minutes allowing it time to work on dissolving the wax.
After the wax has been loosened and softened by the solution, rinse each ear once again with lukewarm (not hot) water, and then dry your outer ears gently with a hand towel. If your ears still seem blocked, do this again a couple of times a day for 2-3 days. If the problem persists, check with an audiologist or hearing specialist for assistance.