How to Clear Blocked Ears

Wondering how to clear ears blocked with wax?

Blocked ears are quite a common occurrence. Although they are not usually painful, they can become quite a nuisance. Symptoms typically include hearing loss, a sensation of blockage and feeling unbalanced. Excessive ear wax can also cause irritating symptoms like feelings of fullness, itching, pain and ringing.

The ear is self-cleaning and usually does a great job of removing ear wax which naturally forms in the outer third of the ear when secretions from oil and sweat glands mix with dead skin cells, dust and dirt and hair. Movements of the jaw then assist the wax to migrate out of the ear canal using a ‘conveyor belt’ motion which the wax travels along. Once at the outer ear it simply falls out or can be wiped away.

Doctor examining patients ear with otoscope

Block Ear Causes and Symptoms

There are many reasons for ears to become blocked with wax from ear anatomy (hairy, bendy, or narrow ear canals), lifestyle (wearing hearing aids, using ear plugs, and cotton buds, stress, working in dusty, dirty environments), and even a genetic predisposition to over-producing earwax. But regardless of the reasons, the resulting discomfort is one of the most common reasons patients seek medical care to relieve the symptoms of blocked ears. For this reason, we have compiled the following helpful tips on the best way to clear ear wax quickly and effectively.

Steps to Avoid

As tempting as it may be, it is important to try and avoid sticking a cotton tip, or any object (bobby pin, the arm of your eyeglasses, tweezers) into the ear canal to try to clear the blockage. Contrary to popular belief, this is not an effective blocked ear treatment. Not only can these items push wax further into the canal, worsening symptoms, they can inadvertently cause trauma to the ear canal or drum.

The same applies for ear candles. Despite their promises, these can actually push wax further into the ear canal, or damage the ear canal or drum through burns from hot wax drips.

Home Remedies to Clear Blocked Ears

It is always recommended to seek professional help before attempting to clear blocked ears at home. Many home remedy treatments are ineffective, and all of them carry some risk. Ears are incredibly important, very delicate and prone to infection and damage from home interventions. Any home remedies should be used with caution. The age old adage to use ‘nothing smaller than your elbow’ in your ears still applies!

One home remedy which can be effective is ear wax softening drops, which are readily available from your local chemist. Drops can soften and break down wax which is blocking your ear canal but are not suitable for everyone. Please don’t use softening drops if you have a perforation of the ear drum, have had ear surgery, or have a current or suspected ear infection. If you use softening drops, we recommend that you seek professional advice after use to ensure no excess wax remains. Softening drops are typically used alongside professional wax removal techniques such as micro suction and curettage to assist in quick and gentle wax removal.

How to Clear Block Ears Using Micro-Suction

If symptoms persist following the use of softening drops or following professional advice, then a safe and effective procedure using micro-suction and curettage is the next course of action.

At Earworx, qualified registered nurses perform micro-suction at our dedicated ear wax removal clinics. This procedure is one of the safest and most reliable blocked ear treatments available. During the procedure, gentle suction is used to remove wax from the ear canal. Relief from blocked ear symptoms is usually immediate. Our nurses will then provide education on how to prevent blockages returning in future.

Micro-suction is a dry procedure which makes it safe to perform with a suspected or diagnosed ear infection to remove debris, reduce feelings of blockage and allow better penetration of prescribed ear drops. It can also be used to remove foreign bodies such as insects, cotton bud tips and dislodged hearing aid domes. Your Earworx registered nurse performs the whole procedure under direct vision. This makes the procedure very safe and ensures no wax is ‘left behind’.

If you need more information on how to clear blocked ears or treatment, contact Earworx to book an appointment today.