Our ears produce wax in order to protect the ear canal from water and infection.
However, in some cases, our ears produce more wax than usual or than needed.
There is no medical need to remove wax from ears https://www.american-hearing.org/disorders/ear-wax/.
However, some people opt to do it anyway.
One of the safe methods for removing wax is to pour hydrogen peroxide in ear.
There are also other methods for managing excess earwax.
Those are wax-removing eardrops and other solutions.
Most of the solutions use hydrogen peroxide, so we will focus on that today.
We will explain how can hydrogen peroxide soften the earwax, and allow the wax to dispel on its own.
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What does the research say?
There have been many studies trying to explain the effects of hydrogen peroxide on ear wax.
Among the first studies was a 2004 study that found that earwax irrigation is one of the most common treatments, but eardrops are more cost-effective https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1324923/.
What followed was many other studies.
A study in 2015, conducted by Australian Family Physician, advocated for eardrops as the initial treatment to help our ears self-clean https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=525565717724520;res=IELHEA.
According to the study, earwax irrigation, or a method in which we use water to remove the wax can carry complications and side effects.
Eardrops, on the other hand, have less room for error and are a much safer option.
In many eardrops solutions, hydrogen peroxide is the primary component.
Watch for the symptoms
Because hydrogen peroxide is the primary component in many eardrops solutions, people often try just to pour peroxide in the ear instead https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14603071.
But before you opt for such treatment at home, you should pay attention to your symptoms.
For example, if you are experiencing pain, discomfort in your ears, and hearing loss, you should visit a physician.
These symptoms are usually caused by something else than earwax buildup.
Experiencing sudden hearing loss in just one ear is a sign of the underlying medical condition.
Therefore, instead of trying a home treatment, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
The condition might be a medical emergency.
How to use
Start by pulling your hair back.
Cover your head with a towel or a hat to prevent your hair lightening or discoloring from the bleaching properties of hydrogen peroxide.
This is all just preparation for the treatment of pouring peroxide in the ear.
Lie on one side, either the left or the right.
You can use a pillow to keep your head level.
This way, the ear is parallel to the ceiling.
When your head is level, hydrogen peroxide can penetrate deeper and prevent further drainage coming out of the ear.
Pour one cup of hydrogen peroxide into the ear that is not on the pillow.
If you lie on the left side, pour peroxide in the right ear.
Initially, you will experience fizzling and popping sounds.
You might also feel a deep itch inside of the ear.
That is a sign the hydrogen peroxide is activating and breaking down excess earwax.
Let the hydrogen peroxide work its magic for 15 to 20 minutes in your ear.
During that time, stay in the resting position.
The fizz and popping sounds will become less frequent and intense after few minutes.
After 20 minutes, it is time to stand up and tilt your head.
If you have been lying on the left side, it is time to tilt to the right to drain the peroxide from your ear.
You can hold a towel under your ear as the solution drains.
You will notice that small pieces of wax will leave your ear.
Use a towel to dry the outside of your ear.
Repeat steps one through six on the other side.
If you used the treatment for the right ear first, repeat the process on the left ear, as you rest on your right side.
For the whole process of pouring peroxide, you’ll need to use a 3% or 4% hydrogen peroxide solution.
You will also need a towel, bowl, and few cotton balls.
Risk and Warnings
If you think you have an ear injury, you should never use eardrops without consulting with a physician before.
Using eardrops on an ear injury can cause infection and pain.
Never stick a foreign object into your ear to remove the wax.
If the wax is lodged in your ear, and you feel discomfort, always consult with a doctor.
Forget about any hairpins, cotton swabs, or any other object to clean the wax out of your ear.
Using objects can risk damaging an eardrum or even allow bacteria enter your ear canal.
While cleaning our earwax is good, frequent cleaning may do more harm than good.
Frequent cleaning can lead to bacterial infections and cause dryness and itching in the inner ear.
If you experience itching and discomfort, do not fall into the trap of putting your hands.
Keep your hands out of your ears, as your fingers carry germs and can cause another ear infection.
It is important that you do not contaminate the contents of the bottle of peroxide by dipping or soaking contaminated cloths, fingers, or other objects.
Are there other ways to remove earwax?
In most cases, using hydrogen peroxide will help.
But if eardrops or hydrogen peroxide is not doing the job, you can also try ear syringe to irrigate your ear.
Ear syringe products can be found online, but also in your local drugstore.
Make sure to follow instructions on the ear syringe product clearly.
If you are not sure about the instructions, consult with your physician.
One of the common misconceptions regarding earwax is that cotton swabs, paperclips, or hairpins can clear the ear.
But that is not accurate.
Sticking foreign objects in your ear can only push the earwax further in the ear and even damage the canal and eardrum.
Can hydrogen peroxide damage your ears?
There are a lot of questions regarding the safety of hydrogen peroxide https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1097/00005537-200311000-00035.
But whether hydrogen peroxide can be damaging or not, usually, the answer is no.
But that depends on using diluted hydrogen peroxide and following the instructions clearly.
You can make a homemade solution with hydrogen peroxide and water, but you have to make sure the solution is 3% to 4% hydrogen peroxide.
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