Among the most prevalent reasons for short-term hearing loss is a build up of ear wax, which the ear canal and interferes with hearing. If you are reasonably confident that ear wax is the source of your temporary hearing loss, you probably want to clean out your ears. Even though this is a natural wish, it is important to understand how to clean your ears safely, without causing damage to your hearing or to the delicate tissues of your ear.

To stress health and safety when cleaning your ears, we will start with what not to do. One of the things to avoid is attempting to clear out ear wax by sticking cotton swaps, Q-tips or any physical object into your ears; this could cause the wax to become compacted and exacerbate the problem. One more thing you should never do is attempt to use any device that sprays water under pressure (such as a WaterPik) directly into your ears; to do this risks damaging your eardrums. And, if you believe you might have either an ear infection or a perforated eardrum, don’t attempt to clean your ears at home. Have a professional do it. Symptoms of ear infections include fluid draining from the ears, vomiting or diarrhea, fever and ear pain.

For effective ear cleaning at home, all you need is a bulb or syringe (available at any pharmacy) and a safe solution with which to rinse out the ears. Such solutions (often called carbamide peroxide) can be obtained at pharmacies; you can also create your own solution by combining equal amounts of 3 to 4 percent, glycerin and mineral oil.

To use this solution, it is best to lay on your side on top of a towel to catch any drips or lean over a sink or bowl; then you simply squeeze the carbamide peroxide solution gently into each ear, ideally without touching the ear with the bulb. Leave the solution in each ear for a couple minutes allowing it time to work .

After the wax has been softened and loosened by the solution, rinse each ear once again with lukewarm (not hot) water, and then dry the outer ears lightly with a towel. If your ears still seem blocked, do this again a few times a day for 2 or 3 days. If the problem still persist, consult your an audiologist or hearing specialist.