What could be more satisfying than scratching an itch that really really really needed to be scratched? Not much.
One of those such itches that many of us need immediate relief from is the one found inside our ears—and largely due to a gooey and sticky substance known as earwax. But, as we're pretty sure is the case with a lot of you, reaching for a cotton swab to take care of business is perhaps one of the worst possible ways of going about it. It's so bad that you could actually find yourself having to take a trip to the emergency room!
So, what's the best way of getting rid of that amber-coloured substance that builds up in our ear canal? Worry not, we're here to spill the deets. But first, let's look at what exactly is the purpose of earwax.
What is earwax for anyway?
Know as cerumen medically, earwax is essential in protecting that little fragile membrane we use to hear stuff—you know, the eardrum. It consists of dead skin cells, hair and the secretions of ceruminous and sebaceous glands. It also acts as a protective layer against water that could very easily irritate the skin inside your ear canal when going for a dip or taking a shower.
In most cases, earwax gets rid of itself by slowly oozing out of your ear over time but in some cases, it can build up and form a blockage. If left untreated, the earwax blockage can cause earache, feeling of fullness in your ear, a ringing sound or noises in your ear, decreased hearing, dizziness, and even a cough.
Try this DIY method
If you suspect large amounts of earwax building up in your ear canal the best thing to do, as mentioned earlier, is to avoid using cotton swabs at all cost—trust us on this one. Instead, you'll first start by softening the earwax. Find an eyedropper and fill it with either baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin or even hydrogen peroxide before putting a few drops inside your ear and leaving it in there for a moment for it to really get absorbed by the wax.
Next, you'll want to take a rubber-bulb syringe (that you can get at your local drugstore) and fill it with warm water before gently squirting it inside your ear canal. When you are doing so, tilt your head to the side and move your lobe and outer ear around to straighten out the canal and let water flow more easily. You should expect to see earwax-filled water come out (sometimes even in surprisingly large quantities!).
If you experience ear wax blockage often or if you sense your case is more severe, you should consult a doctor who could prescribe earwax-removal medication if the situation calls for it.