Ear Wax Management Methods

Earwax or cerumen production actually is an entirely natural process. It involves the production of a brownish yellow sticky substance in your ear canal. Ear wax is nothing but the secretions from various glands that are lining the ear canal. Ear wax is eventually transferred to the opening of your ear where it would ultimately dry up and fall away. Earwax has its own importance and it is effective in protecting your ear by keeping it well-lubricated and clean. Earwax also is very helpful in keeping hazardous fungi and germs at bay thus; it protects your ears against any kind of infections.

What Do You Know about Earwax Accumulation?

The purpose of cerumen is to safeguard the ears from harmful particles that are trying to enter the deeper sections of the ears. Earwax is normally known to flush out these particles by pushing them to the outer ear. However, sometimes this natural process of elimination of hazardous particles may fail and consequently there is a significant earwax build-up. This could be affecting everyone but the children, elderly, and individuals with learning disabilities are typically the ones who are more susceptible to this earwax accumulation issue.

It is a common practice to get the earwax effectively removed by using a good softening agent. If this softening agent does not prove to be effective enough, irrigation method would be opted for. There are numerous different softening agents and unfortunately, there are no standard guidelines for effective earwax removal. Most earwax removal methods are based on local practice and customs, instead, of the solid medical evidence base.

Why Should Earwax Be Removed?

Production of excessive earwax could be causing pressure on your eardrum or may result in blockage of your ear canal or blockage of your eardrum. This, in turn, would lead to hearing impairment. You must visit a hearing clinic and consult an audiologist if you notice the following symptoms arising from the excessive accumulation of earwax.

  • Ear infections
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Tinnitus, dizziness, and pain
  • Malfunctioning of your hearing aids, for instance, whistling.

Why is earwax management important for individuals wearing hearing devices and earplugs?

Excessive cerumen is an issue for the individuals who are wearing earplugs and hearing aids. Earplugs could be removed quite frequently. However, if you are wearing a hearing aid, you would be suffering the most as it is essential for you to wear the hearing aid all the time. Moreover, earwax could be blocking the ear’s mould tubing that would stop the sound from entering the ear.

What Are The Frequently Used Earwax Management Methods?

Some common earwax management methods are the following:

  • Ear Irrigators
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Curettes

Ear Irrigation Method: This is the most popular earwax removal method. Ear irrigation is supposed to be a process that would involve the injection of a fluid under pressure for effective removal of accumulated cerumen or earwax. The pressure would be adjusted according to the auditory canal of an adult. So, ear irrigators are not always a good choice for kids below 12 years of age but having earwax accumulation issues. Your audiologist would not recommend ear irrigation for kids below 12 years of age because only a teenager could successfully switch over to the adult earwax management devices. Most irrigators would be necessitating consistent temperature check-ups for avoiding caloric repose. But you would find some irrigators that come with fully-automated pressure and temperature controls thus, making things easy for both the patients and the professionals at the hearing clinic.

The Curette Method or the Manual Earwax Removal Method: The curette method of earwax removal would not be using any pressure or any liquid. It would necessitate precision and patience only. In this process the excessive earwax would actually be scooped out using a curette. Curettes are available in various sizes and endings and are made of different materials. Some advanced curettes have a special light source that is helpful for professionals to see clearly while performing minor clinical procedures. These innovative curettes would assist professionals to conduct the procedures with ease and efficiency.

Using Cotton Swabs: You could take good care of your ears and manage earwax issues on your own at home. However, you must exercise caution and make sure that you do not cause any damage to your eardrum. A very popular and frequently used solution for proper earwax management is the use of cotton swabs for removing the excessive earwax and cleaning your ears. Be extra careful and do not exert too much pressure. Do not end up piercing your eardrum. It is best to restrict yourself to working out only along the ear canal’s surface, instead, of pushing in.


Earwax could be removed by using topical preparations that could be oil-based, water-based or non-water based too. Oil-based agents help in lubricating and softening the earwax. Water-based agents would be inducing hydration and then fragmentation. Your physician would know best what method of earwax removal would be best for you. However, you must remember that cerumen impaction symptoms would often be overlapping with symptoms of some other clinical conditions.  So, once your impaction issue has been effectively resolved, you must go for a reassessment for determining if the symptoms were actually, triggered by cerumen impact only.