28 responses to “Something as basic as wax cleaning!”

  1. i wonder at the role of oil in the ear as an aid to cerumen disimpaction as well as ongoing? Is this indicated or not?

  2. I will try .

  3. When I see pateints for review of their overall health – physical exams / renewal of meds etc. I often if not always ask about hearing. At that time the topic of wax cleaning comes up. I appreciated this article to review my approach.asuato AHors

  4. I don’t disagree with the water approach but wonder if the idea of oil is more effective and well tolerated, especially in kids?

  5. I will try these recommendations with my patients

  6. In cases where the wax is impacted I often suggest instilling a small amount of warm oil to the affected ear canal. I tell the patient to warm a teaspoon in some hot water,then dry the spoon and place the oil on the warm spoon.Use an eye dropper to draw up the warm oil and then place a few drops in the ear canal with a little cotton batting to prevent it spilling out.
    It seems to work well.

  7. Good simple advice.
    No cost.

  8. All good advice but it removes the wonderful satisfaction for patient and doctor alike of removing those finger sized wax plugs.

  9. Practical and easy


  11. I’ve had more success with oil but will have patient syringe or syringe in the office if problem becomes intractable.

  12. Ok

  13. Good, simple approach that works for me, too!

  14. This seems simple, not as messy as oil, and patients can do it at home without needing a return visit for syringing. Great idea!

  15. Syringing is so satisfying for patients but not for me. showering to clean ears is new to me.

  16. very helpful, thanks

  17. I do like the warm oil approach for treating presenting hard impactions, often followed by syringing of the shower technique as outlined.

  18. Seems sensible.I will give it a try

  19. I personnaly have chronic wax build up in both ears…..inherited from my father and grandfather.
    So I put 3 drops of warm olive oil into one ear close with cotton wool..leave overnight and successfully syringe with slightly warmed water in the morning….alternate ears every 2 weeks…It works.

  20. I suggest warm mineral oil or olive oil at body temperature and cotton plug fro 2 hrs and weekly to monthly oil drop if a recurrent problem.

  21. don’t use a syringe if the ear is painful. be seen by doctor.

  22. good article

  23. This approach may be preferable to patients over oil drops to ears.

  24. Be sure that the syringe or handbulb used is not too long for the canal, especially with children, to avoid trauma. Also, in older patients who are holding their heads at angles in order to allow the water into the canals while they are in a shower, be sure to advise them to hang on to something while washingto avoid vertigo & a subsequent fall. We have all seen shower & bathtub falls result in significant injuries. Vertebrobasilar insufficiency is all too common in the elderly.

  25. I think oil works better for hardend ceruma or impacted wax, when shower water cannot even get in. Also, water may get in and stay in between the tympanic membrane and the impacted wax, which may give the patient a sensation of being under water !

  26. Very common problem, time consuming at best. Have heard the odd patient mention using water in the ear but wasnt sure that it was effective, will spends some time recommending it and see how things turn out.

  27. To those that have needed ear flushing, I have recommended 2-3 drops warm oil HS q2wks as ‘prevention’. I will now suggest water rinsing in the bath/shower and see if it is equally effective. FYI – ‘elephant ear washer’ effective and much less messy than the metal ear syringe.

  28. I always assumed it was more common in frail elderly because they don’t get completely wet. I was unaware other people don’t all or mostly all get water in their ears regularly!

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