When I was a kid, my mom used to take a bobby pin out of her hair, throw my head across her knees and start the torture of cleaning my ears! I still can’t decide which I hated worse when I was a kid: getting my brains picked out through my ears, or getting my hair cut with that itchy polyester cape around my neck. Either way, I ended up with clean ears, and a haircut like Moe from the Three Stooges. Thank God those days are over!
Ear wax is really just a super thick oil that your ear glands secrete, to protect the skin. The wax sort of water-proofs the soft tissue of the middle ear, and keeps you from getting an ear infection every time you swim or take a shower. Some folks’ ears, in an effort to coat and protect, simply over do a good thing! The wax accumulates quickly, and eventually plugs the ear.
Treatment and Expectations: If you ear is completely plugged and you can’t hear a thing, go see a doctor! For maintenance or minor ear was plugging, try these simple steps:
- Since ear is really just a thick, thick oil, you can add some thinner oil to it to loosen it up. Think of peanut butter. If you add some vegetable oil to the thick peanut butter, it will become more runny. So for your ear, you can add some mineral oil. In the ER, we use infant Colace which is simply some baby laxative that is soap based.
- Add a few drops into the plugged ear canal, and lay on your side with your plugged ear side up, for about 20-30 minutes.
- Get up and flush you ear canal with some lukewarm or room temperature water. NOT WARM, NOT HOT! Flush your ear with a bulb syringe, trying to shoot the water towards the SIDE of the ear canal. Do not enter into the canal past the first corner, and certainly don’t touch the ear drum.
- Flush gently until clear, and you should feel much better.
- If you just can’t clear it out after a few tries, go see a doctor!