Ear wax removal devices - do they work?

You can’t go anywhere on the internet without running into ads for devices for ear wax removal, complete with lengthy slick videos featuring “doctors” who invented them, happy users with smiling faces, the usual stuff. The devices look like a spiral made from silicone that is gently inserted into the ear and rotated and magically removes years of built up ear wax in seconds like magic. Also plenty of stuff about risks of poking cotton buds into ears as alternative. All looks very plausible, but do they really work? Guessing they are cheap enough that if they didn’t most people would just throw them in the bin, but the last thing we need is more waste just because scammers can profit from convincing people to buy something that doesn’t work.
Love to hear from anyone who has tried them.

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Hi @DavidB900, welcome to the community. I have also seen these advertisements and find then concerning.

All I can say is almost every ear, nose and throat specialist will advise against putting anything in one’s ear. Our own ENT used to say the only thing you can stick in your ear is your own elbow -something which is impossible to do.

Ear drums can be easily damaged by something foreign placing pressure on it or wax pushed up hard against the drum from something inserted in the ear canal.

Some of the advertisements also appear to be from foreign sellers, which also trigger my alarm bells. I suspect such medical devices may not be approved for use the the TGA.

This could be a doctor of business marketing… I wouldn’t be buying them as the ‘cotton bud’ risks still exist.

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They may be too preoccupied at the surgery/emergency seeking urgent medical attention.

An alternative we can all consider,
Does ear wax have a purpose, and should I clean inside my ears?

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/ear-wax

“If symptoms persist see your Doctor”.

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Thanks for that link - very useful information. I think a trip to the doctor is in order rather than buying dangerous junk off the internet.

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Or go to the pharmacy and get the drops that he/she recommends and save you and the doctor some effort. Such drops are readily available and not expensive, pharmacists deal with this all the time. There are oily drops that soften the wax and detergent based drops that emulsify it, both work and are safe.

The exception would be if you have pain or any symptom suggesting an infection in which case the doctor it is.

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It might be my cultural upbringing but I use cotton buds in my ears post shower and was taught how to safely use them from a very early age. My audiologist(s) often ask if I just had the wax cleaned out and my hearing aids are fairly pristine re buildup. It might be prevention rather than a cure and I am aware it contravenes what many consider good practice, eg never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.

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You could try a few drops of baby oil or similar using an eye dropper. See below or copy and paste into Google.

“Use an eyedropper to apply a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin or diluted hydrogen peroxide in your ear canal. People should not use ear drops if they have an ear infection unless it’s recommended by a doctor. 5 Feb 2021”

Earwax blockage - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/earwax-blockage/diagnosis-treatment/drc-

I am surprised they recommend hydrogen peroxide. It is an oxidising agent and may cause tissue damage and/or dermatitis. An ear drum isn’t something you want to injure even slightly. Also the qualification of “dilute” is vague, if you guess wrong and it is too strong the chance of harm goes up. Some studies show that it is not very effective for the purpose anyway.

Hydrogen peroxide used to be recommended as a disinfectant, probably many of us recall having it applied to cuts and scrapes as children. There are better things for that too.

By the by - concentrated hydrogen peroxide has been used as a rocket fuel (yes really). Dose is important!

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Thanks for the comments. I agree. Personally, I would only use baby oil if looking for home remedies.

A trip to the doctor might be best option for heavily blocked ears as the baby oil will have little effect of the canal is closed off with wax. Doctors can easily remove ear wax which may be causing hearing issues safely. While flushing the ear canal isn’t enjoyable, it does quickly resolve any ear wax problem.

I was always told not to put anything in ears especially from ENT doctors.
Our family has family history of ear wax, I use Olive Oil it softens the wax ready to be claened out by the doctor.

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