Having problems hearing? The most typical cause of temporary hearing loss is an accumulation of ear wax in the ear canal. If you are relatively confident that ear wax is the cause of your short-term hearing loss, you most likely want to clean your ears. The real question is how to do this safely, and without causing damage to the delicate tissues of your ear or your hearing.

In this case it is better to start with a few reminders on what not to do when cleaning your ears. One important thing to avoid is attempting to remove ear wax by placing cotton swaps, Q-tips or any foreign object into your ears; this could cause the wax to compact further and exacerbate the situation. On top of that, do not use any gadget that injects a pressurized stream of water into your ears, such as a WaterPik, as this can rupture the ear drum. Also, if you know that you have a perforated eardrum or think that you have an ear infection, do not try to clean your ears at home, and see a specialist instead. Signs suggesting a possible infection or perforated ear drum include ear pain, fluid draining from the ears, fever and eggs.

Cleaning your ears safely in your own home is possible with syringe or bulb and a rinse solution from your local drugstore. You can purchase a carbamide peroxide solution at the drug store, or mix your own using equal parts of glycerin, mineral oil and 3 to 4 percent.

To use this solution, it’s best to lay on your side over a towel to catch any dripping solution, or lean over a basin, bowl or sink; then you just squeeze the solution slowly into each ear, trying to avoid touching the ear with the bulb. The solution takes time to work, so allow it to remain in each ear for a couple minutes, and then repeat with the other ear.

After the wax has been loosened and softened by the solution, wash each ear again with lukewarm (not hot) water, and then dry your outer ears carefully with a towel. If the obstruction persists, repeat this procedure for cleaning your ears twice daily for 2-3 days. If the situation persists, consult with a hearing specialist or audiologist for help.

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