Video transcription

Hi I am Dr. David Hill, and today we are going to be talking about home remedy ear wax removal. Now before we talk about getting wax out let's talk about what it is and what it does. Ear wax, which we call cerumen in medical terms, helps form a protective barrier to protect this very delicate, sensitive skin inside the external auditory canal from harm. It forms both a physical barrier against dirt and even insects, and forms a chemical barrier by being slightly acidic. So the bacteria and fungus that might infect the inside of the ear don't. As a matter of fact, one of the problems that causes swimmer's ear or otitis externa is not having enough wax in the ear to protect this skin. So most of the time when there is ear wax you just want to leave it alone. The wonderful, magical thing about the ear is that this skin grows outward, slowly. It almost forms a little conveyor belt carrying the ear wax out. Now if there is troublesome wax in the ear what you don't want to do is go after it with a cotton swab or a Q-tip. This is just going to shove the wax right down the ear canal, there is usually a little narrowing or twist half way down, and the wax just gets stuck there. So if you have Q-tips use them to apply make up, but don't stick them in the ear. If you can see wax at the outer ear you can certainly wash it out with a wash cloth during the bath or during a shower. Now if there is a bigger problem, if there is a lot of wax build up there are some home remedies you can use. The simplest is probably mineral or baby oil, which can loosen up the wax and make it easier to flow out. You can also make a mixture of white vinegar, which is really acidic acid and alcohol, one to one, put a few drops in there and then shake them back out. And that can help loosen up the wax and carry it out as well. You don't want to flush fluid forcefully into the ear, because you don't know if that eardrum has a hole in it, some people's do. And if there is a hole in the eardrum and you introduce infected fluid into the middle ear you can cause a really serious infection. So if any flushing is going to be done, it needs to be done by a doctor who has looked in the ear before that. So remember ear wax is generally good, you can instill mineral oil, baby oil, or a mixture of acidic acid, vinegar and alcohol in the ear it will help get ear wax out. But if it is causing a real problem you are going to want a doctors help. Talking about home remedies for ear wax, I'm Dr. David Hill.