The ear has a canal which has a lining of hair follicles and also glands that produce cerumen (waxy oil or the earwax). This cerumen produced by these glands will in many cases find their way towards the opening of your ear.
The earwax can build up and causes blockage sometimes leading to the loss of hearing. Though cerumen can build up and cause blockage, it is important to understand that it plays a very important role in our ears. It is this cerumen that protects them from dust, foreign particles, and microorganisms. It also lubricates the canal hence preventing it from being too much dry.
Sometimes, the cerumen will also help to protect the ear canal form irritations due to water. As we have said earlier, normally, the excess wax will find its way out of the canal by going out through the ear opening naturally. “The wax will most often make its way to the opening of the ear.” [medlineplus.gov]. But in some circumstances, you will find your ear glands producing excess amounts that may not be necessary. So in this case, they may get hard and cause a blockage. It can also be fatal when in the process of washing these wax, you accidentally push the wax deeper. This might lead to serious blockage. Excess buildup may sometimes lead to one developing temporary hearing loss.
Always, you will find that the composition of earwax will vary from one person to the other depending on their diet, environment, and age. When the wax secreted by the ear is not well taken care of, there may be wax build up and hence blockage.
Causes of accumulation and blockage
Let’s now briefly look at some of the factors leading to wax build-up and ear blockage.
1. Ear infections
Infections in your ear that will make them canal to swell is very dangerous because the swollen bumps in the canal may make the path followed by earwax to be narrower and hence, will make it not to find its way out of the ear instead build up and block it.
2. Using Headsets
Using headsets for long when listening to music may lead to wax build up because the headsets will always prevent the wax from finding their way out of your ear. Again some headsets will irritate your ear leading to infections. This condition may lead to the swollen ear canal and hence leading to wax build up.
3. Application of the wrong method to clean your ear
Some of the methods some people do use to wash their ear are very shocking. Look, some people when they clean their ears, they use wrong methods that instead of removing the wax out of the ear, they sometimes push the wax deeper leading to blockage.
4. Use of unsuitable item to clean the ear
Some people when they clean their ears, they often use some objects that are not recommended and are not safe. For instance, you will find some people using pencils, matchsticks or needles. These items may irritate your ear leading to infections. Some people also do use some sticks that will push the wax deeper inside.
Symptoms of cerumen blockage
Ear blockage also known as Cerumen impaction or Ear impaction have got some symptoms that will help you to know whether it is blocked or not. Now take your time and look at some of the symptoms that will reveal to you that you have developed a blockage.
- When it is blocked you may experience some ear pain
- Sometimes when it blocked, one may have a sensation that the ear is plugged
- It can also sometimes accompanied by abnormal noises in the ear
- A partial hearing loss is another symptom/.
Is should also be noted that earwax buildup can occur in one ear at a time, in rare cases will you find wax building up in both of them. Again, you should know that earwax build up may develop in future even after solving several blockages. There may be various factors that if not well taken care of, may lead to other blockages.
Natural earwax wax removal
As we have discussed before, cerumen exist as a substance produced by the glands in order to protect the ear. So in the ear, there are several processes taking place to make sure the one that has stayed long enough is placed near the outer parts of the canal for efficient removal. But sometimes, it may build up going beyond the ability of these processes to remove it. So in case of this condition, we may apply some natural home remedies to prevent ear blockage. The buildup of cerumen will block sound from being heard well leading to a partial hearing loss.
Given below are some of the common natural remedies to unblock and get rid of hardened earwax. These remedies most of the time can be available from the comfort of your home.
Glycerin helps to get rid of stretch marks that may be found in parts of the body. But this item is also known for earwax removal. Glycerin will soften the cerumen and this will really aid the process by which it is taken out of the ear. Below are the step followed while using glycerin to help avoid the buildup.
- In the first step, you will place some few drops of glycerin in your ear and wait for some few minutes to allow the glycerin to settle
- Tilt your head to allow the soften earwax to get out
- You should then clean the wax removed or that has flow outside.
b). Use of Olivine oil
Just like glycerin, olivine oil also will help soften the earwax. After it has been softening, is can easily flow out of your ear and hence prevent a build up. Olivine oil is also known for containing fats that help fight other unwanted fats in your body. How do we apply olivine oil to remove earwax?
- Before you go to bed, place some few drops of olivine oil in your affected ear
- You should then wait for some few minutes and let it flow out of your ear.
- The process should be repeated for a period of seven days. When the wax gets to your outer ear, you should take it out safely without causing any irritation. This should be done using clean cotton.
c). Application of vinegar and rubbing alcohol solution
A mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol will help dissolve the earwax and again the rubbing alcohol will aid the drying up of the liquid that might be left on the ears. Also, vinegar will help fight bacteria that might be aiding the blockage of earwax.
- An equal amount of vinegar should be mixed with rubbing alcohol in a bowl
- Soak a cotton ball in the solution
- Squeeze some drops of the solution in the ear
- Wait for some few minutes then tilt your head on the opposite side to enable the remaining solution to go out together with wax.
- Lastly, remove the wax from your outer ear using a clean cloth.
d. Hydrogen Peroxide
Due to the fact that hydrogen peroxide has an effervescent property, it can be very easy for it breaks down stuck particles. Therefore earwax is nothing much like hydrogen peroxide.
- Make a mixture of equal amount of hydrogen peroxide and water.
- Soak a cotton ball (dropper can also be used) in the solution and squeeze some drops of the solution in your affected ear.
- You will then tilt your head to ensure that the solution reaches the part having the wax built up.
- Wait for some time for the solution to break down the wax build up.
- Again tilt your head the opposite direction to allow the solution to drain out together with the softened cerumen.
- Use clean cotton to remove the earwax that will appear or flow out.
- Rinse it with warm water.
e. Use Coconut Oil to remove earwax naturally
You should be able to understand that Coconut oil contains fatty acids that can help get rid of the excess earwax. Again, coconut oil has anti-microbial properties that will help to prevent ear infections. Now see how you can apply coconut oil to help prevent ear blockage due to excess cerumen:
- Using ear dropper, place three drops of clean coconut oil.
- Wait for approximately ten minutes
- You can then flush warm water inside the same ear to cleanse it
- Finally, wipe off the excess liquid and oil with a clean cloth.
f. The use of Almond oil
Almond oil can also work as a lubricant. It will soften the earwax and hence prevent build up.
- Have relatively warm Almond oil and place it on a dropper
- Place 4-6 drops of Almond oil on your affected ear
- Tilt your head sideways for five to ten minutes to allow the oil reach the point where there is built of cerumen.
- Tilt your head towards the other side to allow the wax to flow out
- Using clean and soft cloth, clean it away
g. Use warm water to get rid of earwax naturally
This might sound strange but it has been proven that clean and warm water can be used to dislodge cerumen. But please make sure that the water is clean otherwise polluted water can contain the bacteria that can lead to ear infections. Follow these steps to get rid of wax out of your ear.
- Fill the ear dropper with clean warm water
- Tilt your head and drop a small amount of water in your canal
- Leave the water to stay for about three minutes
- You can then drain the water from your ear by tilting your head to the opposite side
- Use a clean cloth to clean away the water and the dislodged wax.
h, Use of Omega 3 Fatty acids
This is one of the fatty acids, it can help get rid of toxins inside our bodies. Besides this, omega 3 fatty acids can also assist get rid of the earwax that may build up and block your ear.
During the application of omega 3 fatty acids as a remedy for blockage, you should NOTE that this substance should not be placed directly inside your ear. You will need to ingest it. You can see your doctor to confirm for you the right amount of omega 3 fatty acids you should take per day. It is also very important to include foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.
i. Using Baking Soda to as a natural remedy for ear blockage
One way to remove cerumen is to soften it and then remove it. This is exactly what Baking Soda will do. Baking soda will soften it for you and thereafter you can easily get rid of it.
- First, you will have to mix a small amount of baking soda with water.
- Use ear dropper to place some few drops of the mixture in the affected ear.
- Wait for about ten minutes to allow the mixture to reach the wax. Tilt your head downwards to let the wax and baking soda mixture flow out.
- Drop some clean and warm water to clean it up
- You can then clean the outer part using clean cloth
j. Saline solution
Saline solution or salty water can help in getting rid of earwax and hence preventing blockage. The saline solution will help soften it hence making it very easy to remove. One can apply this procedure while using water to get rid of cerumen.
- Put a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. The water should be warm.
- Let the salt dissolve completely before you can use it.
- Tilt your head and place about 5 drops of the solution.
- You should then hold in the position for about 4-6 minutes to allow the solution soften the wax.
- Then tilt your head in the opposite direction to allow the water solution come out.
- You can then use a clean cloth to clean it in order to remove the softened cerumen.
These natural cerumen removal remedies will make it very easy for you to avoid canal blockage.
When should I call my doctor?
Though wax is a natural secretion and if it is not a problem it is best left alone, you are advised to move with speed and seek the attention of your doctor, after your ear is blocked with wax and you are unable to remove it.
You also need to see your doctor very soon after you have developed drainage, ear pain, fever and partial hearing loss. After you have developed partial hearing loss and continues to employ wrong methods in unblocking them, your temporary hearing loss may develop to permanent hearing loss.
Therefore we should always keep in touch with our medical care service providers to prevent some mild situation from developing to their severity just because of our negligence and ignorance