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Best Earwax Removal Kit According to An Audiologist

April 10, 2024
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Written by
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Amy Sarow is a practicing clinical audiologist and serves as Audiology Lead for Soundly. Her expertise and experience span topics including tinnitus, cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and hearing testing. She holds a doctoral degree in audiology from the University of Iowa. During her residency at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sarow was inspired by the three-tiered, patient-centered approach, incorporating clinical work, teaching and research.

Soundly Staff
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Key Takeaways

  • Most of the time the ear is self cleaning, but if you wear hearing aids or earplugs you may be more prone to wax build up.
  • Q-tips can cause more harm than good. For an earwax cleaning product, we like products that irrigate the ear and selected products based on safety, ease of use, and customer reviews.
  • One important tip with irrigation: the water needs to be approximately body temperature to prevent dizziness.

Best Earwax Removal Kit According to An Audiologist

As an audiologist, I have experience working with all things ear-related. One concern I often hear from patients is about earwax build-up. Earwax is a natural substance produced by the body that helps to protect and clean the ear canal. Having some amount of earwax is normal, but excessive build-up can cause problems such as decreased hearing and discomfort.

Hearing aid patients can be prone to build-up due to the disruption in the natural earwax outward migration from the hearing aid in the ear canal. You might wonder if you can purchase kits or gadgets to assist with ear cleaning. There are many out there on the internet, so I'd like to give you some practical recommendations. In this article, I will discuss the best earwax removal kit according to my experience as an audiologist.

What is earwax?

Let's dive deeper into the topic of earwax, or as medical professionals call it, cerumen. Contrary to popular belief, earwax isn't a sign of poor hygiene but rather a beneficial and natural part of your body's defense system. Its main functions include:

  • Trapping dust and other small particles before they reach the sensitive eardrum.
  • Keeping the ear canal moisturized.
  • Preventing bacterial growth.

It's predominantly made up of dead skin cells, hair, and secretions from glands in the ear canal.

Earwax is usually light yellow, orange, or brown, but its appearance can vary between individuals. Read more about earwax here. While having some wax in your ears is completely healthy, an excessive build-up could lead to complications such as ear canal blockages and hearing loss. Too little can cause dryness, leaving the ear canal more susceptible to infection or irritation. The point of ear cleaning is not to eradicate all earwax but to manage wax to prevent or resolve earwax build-up. 

Ear Hygiene: How to Care for Your Ears

While ears are essentially self-cleaning, maintaining proper ear hygiene goes a long way for overall ear health. For example, allowing gentle, warm water to flow into the ear while in the shower is one way to flush out wax and naturally prevent build-up. However, most people think of Q-tips when they want to clean their ears.

Unfortunately, using objects like cotton swabs can push earwax further into the ear canal, causing impaction and potential damage to the eardrum. It's happened more than once that a patient using a Q-tip was suddenly startled and accidentally punctured the eardrum (ouch).

However, for those who experience frequent or uncomfortable earwax build-up, there are some safe methods to help clean your ears at home: 

  1. Softening earwax: Over-the-counter ear drops or mineral oil can soften earwax, allowing it to exit the ear canal naturally. 
  2. Warm water flush: A gentle flush with warm water during a shower can help remove excess earwax. Using a bulb syringe is another option to flush the ear. 
  3. Use of an earwax removal kit: These kits typically contain a specially designed bottle, device, or bulb syringe and a wax softener and are a safe option for at-home earwax removal. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using these kits. 

Remember, while at-home methods can assist in ear hygiene, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you're experiencing pain, hearing loss, or consistent problems with earwax build-up, it's best to seek medical attention.

Who might need an earwax removal kit? 

Although the ear naturally self-cleans, certain situations can disrupt this process. For instance, individuals who frequently wear hearing aids, earplugs, or even earbuds for extended periods during the day may be more prone to earwax build-up. The reason for this is quite simple: these devices can block the ear canal, inhibiting the natural migration of earwax from the ear canal to the outer ear.

Consequently, the wax accumulates and hardens, potentially leading to discomfort, decline in hearing ability, or even infection. If you fall into this group, an earwax removal kit can be a helpful tool to safely manage and prevent excessive earwax build-up while preserving your ear health.

What Not to Use for Earwax Removal

While it's essential to know safe methods for at-home earwax removal, it's equally important to know what not to use. A common mistake many people make is using sharp or pointed objects to clean their ears. It may be tempting to reach for a bobby pin, a sharp spiral knife, or even a paperclip to try and dig out bothersome wax, but this can lead to disastrous results. Using these objects can cause pain, damage the delicate tissues in your ear, and increase the risk of infection. 

Another product to use with caution is hydrogen peroxide. While it is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter ear drops, using pure hydrogen peroxide can lead to excessive dryness in the ear canal. Over-drying the ear canal can irritate the skin and potentially lead to other complications. If you use hydrogen peroxide, remember to use the amount specified on the package or dilute it with water (one part water for every part hydrogen peroxide).

In summary, stick to safe and proven methods for removing earwax, and consult with a healthcare professional when in doubt.

What to look for in an earwax removal kit?

When it comes to removing earwax, there are several effective methods. Professionals typically use suction, mechanical tools, or irrigation to get the job done. However, I recommend irrigation as the safest option for at-home use to prevent any potential injury. When it comes to earwax removal kits, you'll want one that is well-designed, easy to use, safe, and hygienic.

Some kits include the works: an otoscope, softening agents, an ear basin to catch run-off, and disposable tips in addition to the irrigation system. Other kits keep it simple but can also be effective. When selecting the best option for you, consider budget, convenience, and whether you'll have assistance to help. Let's talk about what you should know before getting started. 

Ear Irrigation Safety Tips

Ear irrigation involves gently rinsing the ear canal to remove excess wax. This method is simple, safe, and can be conveniently performed at home using an earwax removal kit. However, a few precautions are necessary to ensure safe and effective use. 

  1. Avoid with Known Conditions: If you have a known eardrum perforation, ear tubes, or an active ear infection, avoid using this method. These conditions increase the risk of complications and can exacerbate any existing problems.
  2. Water Temperature: When using water for irrigation, ensure it is lukewarm - approximately body temperature. Avoid using either too warm or too cold water. Changing the temperature inside the ear canal can trigger dizziness, a phenomenon known as vertigo. While it doesn't last long or cause damage, it can be pretty uncomfortable. 

By adhering to these guidelines, you can safely and effectively use at-home ear irrigation to manage excessive earwax build-up. However, consult your doctor if you need more clarification or if the problem persists.

The Best Earwax Removal Kit According to An Audiologist

As an audiologist, I've seen countless patients distressed by ear discomfort due to earwax accumulation. With the wide range of earwax removal kits available in the market, it can be overwhelming to find the right one. I've sifted through numerous products to identify the most effective, safe, user-friendly earwax removal kits. Here are my picks for the best earwax removal kit based on effectiveness, safety, ease of use, and customer reviews.

Best for Sensitive Ears

DOCTOR EASY Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System 

The DOCTOR EASY Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System is an excellent tool for efficient earwax removal. It is designed with optimum hygiene and comfort in mind. A physician designed this gentle rinsing system to help patients clean their ears while still being gentle enough not to irritate them. The kit has an ear basin, a specialized spray bottle with a unique nozzle, and 20 disposable tips.

The disposable tips ensure sanitary use each time, preventing any risk of infection that may come from reusable tips. This kit is a highly effective solution for at-home earwax removal with professional-grade results. The included instructions walk you through how to use the device properly, but you may find it helpful to recruit a helper for a second hand to assist with the process.

Most Affordable Option

Debrox Earwax Removal Kit 

The Debrox Earwax Removal Kit is a time-tested and budget-friendly option for dealing with earwax build-up safely at home. This classic kit includes a softening solution and a bulb syringe, offering a comprehensive two-step solution for effective earwax removal. The first step involves using the softening solution, which aids in loosening the hardened earwax. Once the wax is softened, the provided bulb syringe comes into play. This tool effectively flushes out the loosened wax. The Debrox Earwax Removal Kit is the most cost-efficient option on our list, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a straightforward and economical solution for maintaining ear hygiene. 

Most Comprehensive Kit

WaxBgone Ear Cleaner Earwax Removal Kit

The WaxBgone Ear Cleaner Earwax Removal Kit is the most comprehensive for managing earwax build-up at home. This kit includes everything you need for a thorough two-person ear cleaning job, sparing you a trip to the doctor. The kit includes a wax softening agent, which effectively breaks down stubborn earwax, and a drying agent to dry out the ear after the procedure. For a thorough inspection of your ear canal, an otoscope is also included to ensure the wax was properly removed.

The ear basin provides a convenient and clean solution for catching the flushed-out earwax, and the easy-to-use spray bottle simplifies the irrigation process, ensuring a safe and comfortable experience. If you're looking to tackle earwax build-up with some assistance, the WaxBgone Ear Cleaner Earwax Removal Kit guarantees an efficient, painless, and hygienic process.

Best Portable Electric Option

Wush Earwax Cleaner

The Wush Earwax Cleaner is the latest way to maintain ear hygiene from the comfort of your own home. This earwax cleaner is designed for ease of use and comfort, and its lightweight, portable size works well for those in small apartments or tight living spaces. It's incredibly user-friendly, with straightforward instructions for setup and use, a handheld device for easy handling, and three adjustable pressure settings for customizing intensity. Keep your ears clear of wax with Wush's triple jet stream to flush and loosen debris – and at a lower volume than most professional cleanings. Though it can take a few goes to get used to, your ears will thank you for the convenience and quickness of this solution. 

Best Self-Use Option

Wax Blaster MD Kit 

The Wax Blaster MD Kit is the perfect option for those who prefer to tackle ear hygiene without assistance. This kit is designed with single-hand usability, allowing for a no-fuss, straightforward operation. It comes with several disposable ear tips, ensuring each use is sanitary and eliminating any risk of infection due to repeated usage. Ideal for those who live alone or prefer a do-it-yourself approach, the Wax Blaster MD Kit makes maintaining ear cleanliness a breeze. 

Most User-Friendly Option

KAUGIC Electric Ear Cleaner: An Easy and Convenient Solution

The KAUGIC Electric Ear Cleaner is our premium pick for those seeking the utmost in ease and convenience. While it might be a more costly option, its user-friendly design makes it particularly suitable for individuals living alone or needing the most straightforward option.

The device's components are easy to clean, adding an extra layer of convenience. Its adjustable pressure levels give added flexibility for a comfortable and safe ear-cleaning experience, and pressure can be gently increased as needed. I recommend starting on the 'soft' setting and only increasing it if necessary to ensure the utmost care and safety for your ears.

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Conclusion

Earwax build-up is a common issue that can cause discomfort and hearing problems. It is essential to keep your ears clean, but it is important to do it safely and correctly. An earwax removal kit is an effective solution that can help prevent any damage to your ears. When choosing an earwax removal kit, it is essential to look for one that is gentle and easy to use. Always follow the instructions carefully when using an earwax removal kit, and if you experience any discomfort or have pre-existing ear conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before attempting to remove earwax.

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