- What You Should Know About Earwax Buildup:
- Earwax is good.
- In general, leave earwax alone.
- It will come out and fall away on its own.
- If you see some wax right at the opening, you can flick it away. Use something that won't push it back in, such as a paper clip.
- Reasons to Flush out the Ear Canal:
- Earwax is completely blocking an ear canal and can't hear on that side.
- If the hearing seems normal on that side, the blockage is only partial. You can leave it alone.
- Age 6 Years and Older - Ear Canal Flushing with Water:
- Under age 6, use only if advised by your child's doctor.
- Buy a soft rubber ear syringe or bulb from the pharmacy. No prescription is needed.
- Have your child lean over the sink. Reason: To catch the water.
- Use lukewarm water (body temperature). Reason: To prevent dizziness.
- Gently squirt the water into the ear canal. Then tilt your child's head and let the water run out. You may need to do this several (3-4) times.
- If the earwax does not seem to be coming out, tilt the head. Then, flush it with the head tilted. Have the ear with the wax in it facing downward. Gravity will help the water wash it out (the waterfall effect).
- Endpoint: Flush until the water that comes out is clear of wax. Also, the ear canal should be open when you look in with a light.
- Afterwards dry the ear thoroughly. You can do this by putting a drop of rubbing alcohol in the ear canal. Or you can set a hair dryer on low. Hold it a foot away from the ear for 10 seconds.
- Caution - Ear Canal Flushing:
- Do not perform flushing if your child has a hole in the eardrum or ear tubes.
- Stop flushing if it causes pain or dizziness.
- Do not use a water jet tooth cleaner (such as a WaterPik) for ear flushing. Reason: The force of the jet can cause pain.
- Ear Drops - Use for 4 Days to Soften the Earwax:
- If the earwax is hard, soften it before flushing the ear canal. Use ear drops to break up the earwax.
- Homemade ear drops: 15% baking soda solution. Make it by adding ¼ teaspoon (1.25 mL) of baking soda to 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of water.
- Other option for homemade ear drops: hydrogen peroxide and water solution. Mix equal parts of each.
- Drug store option: Earwax removal ear drops (such as Debrox). No prescription is needed.
- Use 5 drops in affected ear, 2 times daily, for 4 days.
- How to Put in Ear Drops:
- Lie on the side with blocked ear upward.
- Place 5 drops into ear canal.
- Keep drops in ear for 10 minutes by continuing to lie down.
- Then lie with the blocked side down. Let the ear drops run out onto some tissue.
- Use twice daily for up to four days.
- Then flushing should be able to get everything out.
- Cautions for Ear Drops:
- Do not use ear drops if your child has a hole in the eardrum. Also do not use them for children with ear tubes.
- Stop using ear drops if pain occurs.
- Earwax Removal Before 6 Years Old:
- Earwax removal in this age group can be hard.
- Removal may not be needed. The ear wax should come out on its own. Don't use cotton swabs.
- Do not use eardrops or ear flushes unless it is advised by your child's doctor. This also can be done in your doctor's office.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Flushing out the ear canal doesn't return the hearing to normal
- Earache occurs
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.