If you're experiencing a slight decrease in hearing, an earache or a full feeling in your inner ear, you could have a blocked ear canal. Although earwax is a necessary part of protecting your ear, earwax blockage---or cerumen---can be hard to wash out, and it could even lead to infection. At-home remedies and supplements can help clear your ears and prevent and treat an infection. In addition, your doctor might have some solutions and medications to help.
To soften earwax, the Mayo Clinic recommends using an eyedropper to apply baby oil, glycerine, mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide. Use only a few drops twice a day for about four or five days. Once wax has softened, use a bulb syringe to squirt water into your ear. Tilt your head to allow the water to be absorbed into your ear. After this, let the water drain out. Finally, gently dry your ear. According to the Mayo Clinic, you might need to repeat this procedure several times to get all of the wax out. Be patient, though, and never attempt to dig out pieces of hardened wax, as this could lead to serious ear damage.
Excessive ear canal blockage could result in an ear infection. Although common, ear infections can be painful. To treat an infection caused by excess blockage, you could try an antibiotic, which is the traditional route; however, several alternative remedies exist.
For natural pain relief, James F. Balch and Mark Stengler, authors of "Prescription for Natural Cures," suggest using garlic drops. Garlic also has antibacterial and antiviral benefits. Place two warm garlic drops into the blocked ear twice a day; however, don't use garlic drops if your eardrum is perforated, or if you have fluid drainage.
To enhance immune function, take echinacea, goldenseal and vitamin C. Take four ml of echinacea and goldenseal four times daily. Children should only take two ml daily. In addition, take 1,000 mg of vitamin C three or four times a day. Children should only take 500 mg at a time, though. Excessive vitamin C can lead to diarrhoea, so reduce your dose if this becomes a problem for you.
If home or alternative remedies don't clear your ear, your doctor might choose to take care of the problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, your doctor can remove the wax using a small, curved tool called a curette. In addition to a curette, your doctor might also choose to flush it out with a bulb syringe or water pick.
If these methods don't seem to fix the problem---or if your excessive earwax continually blocks the ear canal---consider using wax-removal medications. Use medications such as carbamide peroxide every four to eight weeks to prevent wax build-up. Use these drops sparingly, though, as hey might irritate the delicate skin in and around the ear, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Prescription for Natural Cures; James F. Balch and Mark Stengler; 2004
- The Mayo Clinic