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Hydrogen Peroxide in Ear: Is it Safe for Earwax Removal?

Hydrogen peroxide, a common household antiseptic, has been known to help soften and dissolve earwax, making it easier to remove. However, using hydrogen peroxide in the ear to clean your ears can be dangerous. Here’s why and what you should do instead.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Safe for Cleaning Ears?


Many people have found success cleaning their ears with hydrogen peroxide. It’s a mild antiseptic and foaming agent. When it comes into contact with earwax, it can help break down the wax, which helps in removing it. It’s also an option some medical professionals favor for its efficacy and ease of use.

But before you dive in, remember that not all ears are the same. The skin inside your ear canal is delicate, and introducing any foreign substance can lead to irritation or injury. It’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider before trying any DIY ear cleaning methods, especially if you have a history of ear issues or have had surgery on your ears in the past.

Dangers of Cleaning Ears With Hydrogen Peroxide


While cleaning ears with hydrogen peroxide can work, knowing the potential risks is important. Using hydrogen peroxide incorrectly or excessively can lead to problems. The bubbling action produced by the peroxide can cause discomfort or mild pain if the solution isn’t properly diluted or remains in contact with sensitive ear tissues for too long. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the water should be warm not hot, it is a 50/50 mix of water and hydrogen peroxide.

Additionally, overzealous ear cleaning can push earwax deeper into the ear canal, potentially causing impaction that can lead to more serious issues, such as temporary hearing loss, dizziness, or ear infections. Always exercise caution and never insert anything too deeply into your ears, including cotton swabs.

Oops, Too Much Hydrogen Peroxide in the Ear? Here’s What to Do


Mistakes happen, and a well-intentioned DIY ear-cleaning session can sometimes go awry. If you find yourself with too much hydrogen peroxide in your ear or experiencing discomfort, here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do:

  1. Stay Calm:Take a deep breath and relax because panicking can make the situation worse.
  2. Tilt Your Head:Gently tilt your head to the side to allow the excess peroxide to drain out of your ear. You can use a clean cloth to help absorb the excess liquid if needed. Avoid inserting anything into your ear canal.
  3. Rinse With Warm Water:After the initial drainage, rinse your ear with warm water using a bulb syringe or by gently pouring warm water into your ear. Make sure the water is at body temperature.
  4. Seek Medical Help:If you experience persistent discomfort, pain, hearing loss, or any other concerning symptoms, it’s best to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can assess the situation and provide the necessary guidance.

Where to Get Your Ears Cleaned?


Another option is seeking help from medical professionals at your local American Family Care (AFC). Don’t let the problem of ear wax buildup continue to linger. Instead, visit our local clinic to find relief through ear lavage.

An audiologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist also has the expertise and equipment to safely remove excess earwax and address any concerns you might have. Professional cleaning can be beneficial if you have a history of ear problems, ear infections, or structural issues in your ear canal.

AFC offers extended hours on weekdays and weekends for your convenience and no appointment is required.  Find a location near you.

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