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McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

One of the most prevalent reasons for short-term hearing loss is a build up of ear wax, which obstructs the ear canal and interferes with hearing. If you are reasonably confident that ear wax is the resource for your short-term hearing loss, you probably want to clean your ears. Having said that, you must clean the ears safely and correctly, or else you could cause permanent injury to your ears.

It is best to begin with a few tips on what not to do when trying to clean your ears. Do not insert any solid objects in your ear. No matter if it’s a cotton swap, Q-tip or other tool, you are more likely to make the situation even worse by further compacting the ear wax if you go poking around in your ear. On top of that, don’t use any gadget that injects a stream of pressurized water into your ears as this can rupture the eardrum. Also, if you know that you have a perforated eardrum or believe that you have an ear infection, do not try to clean your ears at home, and see a specialist instead. Signs suggesting a possible infection or ruptured ear drum include fever, fluid draining from the ears, ear pain and eggs.

Cleaning your ears properly in your own home is possible with syringe or bulb and a rinse solution from the drug store. Buy the rinse solution (generally carbamide peroxide) at a drug store or prepare your own solution by combining equal parts mineral oil, glycerin and 3%-4%.

To work with it, lay down on your side with a towel underneath you or lean to one side over a sink and gently squeeze the solution into one ear, without actually touching the inside of the ear with the bulb or syringe. Allow the carbamide peroxide solution to remain in your ear for a few minutes (or, if you use hydrogen peroxide, until you stop hearing the sound of the bubbling), and then repeat for the other ear.

Once the ear wax has been softened and loosened by the solution, rinse each ear once again with lukewarm water, and then dry the outer ears carefully with a towel. You can repeat this process twice daily for 2 to 3 days if your ears still feel blocked. If the situation persists, consult with a hearing specialist or audiologist for assistance.