Usually, ear wax comes by itself outside the ear canal slowly and gets removed easily. However, in some individuals excessive ear wax can get accumulated in the ear canal and create problem. A condition known as cerumen impaction occurs when large quantities of accumulated ear wax gets hard and is impacted in the ear canal. This condition can cause ear pain and even infection in the ear.
How to Use Olive Oil for Ear Wax
An effective home remedy that comes in handy for treating cerumen impaction is olive oil; however, certain safety precautions should be following while using it.
1. Using Olive Oil Drop
Olive oil can be used as a drop to soften and remove ear wax. The steps to use olive oil drops are:
Step 1: Take warm or hot water in a saucepan (1/2 to 2/3 full). Pour a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil in a glass and put it in the warm water in the saucepan. Let the olive oil heat to either room temperature or slightly warm than that.
Step 2: Fill an eyedropper at least ¾ full with the heated olive oil.
Step 3: Facing the affected ear towards the ceiling, lie down on your side. Squeeze the eyedropper into your external ear canal and let the olive oil drops fall into your ear canal. Put a cotton ball in your ear canal to avoid the spilling of oil outside.
Step 4: Lay back in this position of at least 10-15 minutes so as to let the oil soften the wax and penetrate it.
Step 5: Now stand up and by leaning over a sink let the excess oil drain out from your ear canal. Using a bulb syringe filled with warm water, flush out both the oil and wax from your ear canal.
Step 6: Ear should be dried thoroughly in the end. Place a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and put it in the ear. In the end, blow inside your ear canal using a hair dryer.
2. Using Olive Oil Spray
An olive oil spray can also be used to remove impacted and excessive ear wax. A pharmaceutical grade olive oil spray is usually available at high retails stores or you can also buy them online. It breaks wax naturally and is safe to use in all age groups. The steps to use olive oil spray are:
Step 1: Following the instructions mentioned on the pack, spray the olive oil into your ear canal. A mist of tiny amount of olive oil is put into your ear. Now rub the little flap on the front side of your ear, this movement helps the olive oil sprayed into the canal to take effect. Put a small cotton plug in your ear.
Step 2: Leave the olive oil to do its work for some hours. This will allow it to soften the impacted ear wax.
Step 3: Afterwards wash the softened wax with a warm shower and tilt your head on both sides alternatively for a couple of seconds.
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What to Consider When Using Olive Oil for Ear Wax
There are certain precautions that you should take while using olive oil for removing ear wax. Some of the points that need to be considered are:
- Avoid using an ordinary pharmaceutical olive oil bottle from which the olive oil has to be poured into your ear. If you pour olive oil in your ear directly from the bottle or with a spoon, there are chances that your ear and also your neck will get drowned in olive oil. In addition to this, the congestion can get worse as the olive oil may later harden along with the wax.
- Using cotton wool buds is also not recommended as it can move the wax further inside the ear canal and you may have to visit your practitioner to get it removed.
- Olive oil should either be used alone or with water irrigation. It is recommended by AAFP to put 2-3 drops of olive oil every day for three to four days consecutively in the affected ear. You can do this every night before going to bed. Remove the wax on the morning following the last day of the treatment.
- In case you have a suspicion of a perforated ear drum, do not try to use olive oil in your ear to remove ear wax. NIH suggests that perforated ear drum presents with the following symptoms: drainage from ear, hearing buzzing sounds, ear discomfort and pain and loss of hearing. AAFP also warns that you should not use olive oil to remove wax if you have ear tubes in your ear or have undergone surgery related to ear drums recently.