If you are experiencing blocked, clogged, or full ears, then there’s a strong chance that you have a buildup of earwax.

But don’t panic – earwax (cerumen) is totally normal. In fact, it’s a natural substance that your body produces to protect you from unwanted dirt and dust. It has protective properties that prevent bacteria from reaching the inner ear and prevent the growth of certain bacteria and fungi that can lead to ear infections.

Although earwax is your friend, it’s often treated as foe.

However, when you have an over-accumulation of earwax or impacted earwax, then it can cause many challenges, including a temporary or a sudden hearing loss, a feeling of fullness in your ear, dizziness, headaches, balance issues, and ear pain.

Yet when you go online to explore ways to unblock your ears or remove earwax, there’s no shortage of options and advice. The problem is, some of the home remedies that are available and recommended are incredibly dangerous, while others are just weird and a waste of time.

In this article, we’re going to explore the five most common ways to unclog your blocked ears and remove earwax, with the pros and cons of each.

The 5 Most Common Ways To Unclog Your Ears


#1 – Over-the-Counter Ear Drops

Any form of an over-the-counter product usually has its place for very mild cases, and ear drops are no different. They’re recommended for people with a “small amount of earwax,” which is very difficult to self-diagnose, as none of us really knows how much wax is too much or not enough.

But as a general rule of thumb, if you feel that you have a buildup of earwax or blocked ears, then you’ve likely gone beyond the level of having a “small amount of earwax.”

The question is whether you want to try this DIY approach first to see if it makes the difference that you’re looking for before consulting a professional.

With over-the-counter ear drops available for around $10.00 – they’re low-priced and can make an impact for very small buildups of earwax.

As hearing professionals, we believe this method is quite harmless but perhaps not very effective.

#2 – Candling (Using Candles Inside Your Ears)

If your first thought here is, “Why would I want to add wax to wax?” then we applaud your thinking, as you’re absolutely right.

Believe it or not, using candles as a solution to unclog your ears is crazily an approach that is often spoken about online. However, this is incredibly dangerous.

Not only will you likely burn your face, but drips of hot wax into your ears will also cause damage and likely result in much worse problems. Please do not use this method to tackle an ear blockage – in fact, avoid it at all costs.

#3 – Pick Out The Wax Using A Cotton Swab

As a hearing professional, this is the most troublesome of all the options, as it’s not only the most common, but it’s also one of the most dangerous! Using a Q-tip or cotton swab to try to remove earwax is just plain wrong.

The problem is, this is often the reason for the buildup of earwax, as a cotton swab often leads to wax being pushed deeper into your ear canal, and if you go too deep with the cotton swab, it can lead to more serious damage.

We advise our children not to stick stuff into their ears, and the advice should very much be respected by all of us! 

#4 – Using Olive Oil

Using olive oil for earwax has been an approach that has been used for many years, and it’s generally safe to use in small quantities. The olive oil will soften the impacted wax causing the hearing loss, and with consistency over several days, it will result in the earwax unclogging and falling out of your ear.

There are many low-cost, over-the-counter olive oils available for this exact reason, and it’s a very straightforward approach. However, it does come with a warning. If you have a ruptured eardrum or any history of allergies toward olive oil, then you should avoid this approach, as it could lead to further complications.

Similar to the over-the-counter eardrops, if you have a very mild buildup of earwax and you’re happy to take a slow approach to find a solution, then olive oil is a great potential option for you. 

#5 – Visit A Hearing Professional

The final approach is also the approach that is the most recommended and safest option, and that’s to visit a hearing professional.

If you’re experiencing signs of blocked ears, then it’s likely that you’ve passed the window where the other common at-home approaches will be effective for you, and you’ll require the attention of a specialist.

A specialist will be able to professionally inspect your ears, identify the reasons that you may be experiencing blogged/clogged ears, and professionally test your hearing to ensure that your overall hearing health is sufficient.

It is the approach that is recommended and comes with the most benefits without any of the dangerous or risky negatives.

Scheduling Your Hearing Inspection In Sonoma And Marin Counties

If you’re looking for trusted hearing care experts that can help, then the team at Park Place Hearing works with some of the most experienced and most trusted providers in the area.

To ask a question or schedule an appointment, then please click here for full information, and here’s where you can find the contact information for your local office.

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Dennis Tobin, HIS

Dennis is the owner of Park Place Hearing Center and is a Hearing Aid Specialist. Dennis has been in the hearing healthcare field for over 27 years. His father and grandfather also worked in the hearing industry. He brings a wealth of new knowledge and expertise to the Petaluma community. Dennis has dedicated his life to help people with hearing loss realize a better quality of life.
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