Temporary hearing loss, a feeling of fullness in your ears, dizziness, headaches, or even balance issues can all be due to a buildup of wax

Six Ways to Unclog Your Blocked Ears (Pros and Cons)

04/23/2023 | Earwax, Patient Resources

Earwax, though sometimes unwanted, is a natural substance that serves a great purpose. It traps debris and keeps bacteria and fungi from entering the ear and causing infection.

However, too much earwax can cause clogged ears, dizziness, crackling in ears, high-frequency hearing loss, low-frequency hearing loss, and balance issues. This is usually caused by cotton swabs and motorcycle earbuds pushing the wax deeper into the ear canal.

All too often, patients come to visit us thinking they have a hearing loss problem, and they are relieved to find out that the problem is just wax buildup and that there is an easy solution. For these cases, a professional ear cleaning is required.

But it is essential to note that over-the-counter earwax removal methods can potentially cause damage.

With this in mind, here is our opinion of the six most common ways to unblock your ears.

1. Use Over-the-Counter Ear Drops—Do

Over-the-counter ear drops are a safe and effective way to relieve clogged ears. When used correctly, they can help reduce the discomfort associated with clogged ears.

The first step is to wash your hands before applying the drops. Then, tilt your head to the side and place a few drops of the solution into the affected ear.

Gently massage the area around the ear and let the solution sit in the ear for several minutes. This will help it to penetrate deeper into the ear canal, loosening any blockages that may be causing the clogged feeling.

After allowing the solution to sit for a few minutes, gently tilt your head in the opposite direction to enable the solution to drain out of the ear. It is important not to insert any objects into the ear, as this could push the blockage farther into the ear canal.

It’s essential to use the drops according to the package’s instructions, and consult us if symptoms persist or worsen.

2. Use Hot Wax Candles—Don’t

The hot candle wax method should not be used for earwax removal for several reasons. Firstly, the candle wax could be too hot and cause severe burns to the outer ear and ear canal.

Secondly, the wax from the candle may not be sterile, and introducing non-sterile materials to the ear canal can increase the risk of infection.

Finally, the wax from the candle is not designed specifically for use in the ear and may contain substances that can irritate the ear and cause further problems.

In addition to these risks, extracting earwax with the hot candle wax method can also damage the eardrum, leading to hearing loss. This is because the candle wax can be difficult to control and can be pushed too far into the ear and come into contact with the eardrum.

3. Pick Out the Wax Using a Cotton Swab—Don’t

We’re sorry to break this news to parents and grandparents all over Alaska, but using cotton swabs to remove earwax is not recommended. It can cause damage to the delicate structure of the ear canal.

Cotton swabs are not designed to be inserted deep into the ear and can cause irritation, bleeding, or worse. Additionally, cotton swabs may push wax farther into the ear canal and may be the cause of your earwax buildup in the first place.

Cotton swabs should never be used as a substitute for professional care.

Unblock my ears

4. Use Olive Oil— Do, With Care

Olive oil is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including clogged ears. The pros of using olive oil to relieve clogged ears are that it is natural and safe, readily available, inexpensive, and easy to administer.

It works by lubricating the ear canal and helping to break up the wax buildup causing the clog. This is an excellent method to stop crackling in ears.

The cons of using olive oil to relieve clogged ears are that it may not be effective for everyone, it could cause an allergic reaction in some people, and it may not work for severe cases of earwax impaction.

I advise everyone to be careful not to push the oil too far into the ear, as this could cause further blockage or cause damage to the eardrum. If you are experiencing severe pain or discomfort, please contact us before attempting to use olive oil as a remedy.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide Drops—Do

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for ears? Yes, hydrogen peroxide is a natural disinfectant that can help unclog your ears and provide relief.

The peroxide breaks down the wax buildup that is causing the blockage in the ear. To use it, fill an eyedropper with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and tilt your head, so one ear is facing up.

Squeeze a few drops of the solution into the ear and then wait for five to 10 minutes. Afterward, gently tilt the head to the side to allow the solution to drain out. The solution can cause a bubbling sensation, which is normal.

Hydrogen peroxide is better than over-the-counter drops because it has natural disinfectant properties that can help clear out any bacteria or debris that may be causing the blockage. Additionally, it is typically cheaper and easier to find than traditional ear drops.

6. Visit Us for a Professional Deep Clean—Do!

The best way to ensure you get the proper treatment for a blocked ear is to visit us at one of our offices in either Anchorage or Eagle River.

It’s unlikely that home remedies will effectively address earwax blockages. Therefore, seeking the assistance of a specialist who has experience in dealing with such issues is advisable.

Using a range of professional equipment, including an Earigator, head loop, and manual removal , we can see what’s really going on within your ear. This helps us locate the blockage and will show us how to remove it. Plus, the best part is you get to watch all the action on a monitor in real time! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show while we take care of business.

This is a little unclear – what stage?

You introduce this as a range of “equipment,” but this is a technique. Instead, maybe list the tool that would be used for manual removal.

Where to Get Ears Cleaned

My team and I at the Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus Center are passionate about what we do: providing ear-cleaning services and helping thousands of patients with their hearing-related needs.

Our offices, located in Anchorage and Eagle River, are visited by people from all over the state. You can contact us at either if you have more questions regarding this process or anything hearing-related.

If you’re looking to ask a question or book an earwax removal appointment, please click here for more information and to find the contact details of your local office.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Emily E McMahan

Dr. McMahan attended the University of Cincinnati where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2009. She furthered her professional education by obtaining her Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in Philadelphia in 2013. She completed her residency in Anchorage and has been applying her expertise to her patients in the Pacific Northwest for several years. Whether you need hearing testing, hearing aids, or assistance with managing tinnitus in your daily lives, Dr. McMahan is qualified to assist you!

    Request A Callback

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.