Hey asians, how do you deal with your earwax?
February 11, 2012 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Hey asians, how do you deal with your earwax?

I single out asians because we have the dry, flaky earwax...

Every so often I feel like my ears need to be "cleaned out" a bit. I know they sell those long, thin earwax "spoons" at my local asian supermarket. That's what I used to use, but I don't find it very effective and I'm also told it's a bad idea to stick those things in your ear.

Any other ideas?
posted by malhouse to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've found that Murine Ear Wax Removal Drops work, but it takes a while. I usually use the drops twice a day for 4 days in a row then flush it out with the bulb it gives you or a syringe. The drops at this point would've softened the dry, flaky ear wax enough. I would only use this when you have a long weekend alone to yourself though because your ears will feel super stopped up (and you can't hear that well) before you rinse them out.

A faster option would be to go to your doctor. They'll give you some drops before hand but then they use a water pick to do it safely.
posted by astapasta24 at 7:41 PM on February 11, 2012

Fellow asian here. I usually just do a quick q-tip clean after a shower. I have to do it right after a shower because of the dryness issue. But I don't get much ear wax as is... so I don't have to do it that often.

For the longest time I assumed everyone else had dry ear wax like me until someone told me only Asians did. Weird, huh.
posted by hellomina at 7:43 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use something like this with some warm water. Works a treat.
posted by Mr. Merkin at 7:46 PM on February 11, 2012

Non-Asian here, but this is what I use. Fill it up with a mix of hydrogen peroxide & warm water & squirt away.
posted by AMSBoethius at 7:56 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hydrogen peroxide and warm water.
posted by spunweb at 7:58 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

For the love of dog, don't stick Q-tips in your ears!!

Now while I make myself a hypocrite...

Recently my ear was plugging up when I laid on that side, so I used the scoop end of these Clinere ear cleaners to pull out quite a lot of wax. Very, VERY carefully.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:24 PM on February 11, 2012

For the longest time I assumed everyone else had dry ear wax like me until someone told me only Asians did.

For the record, me, my sister and my mom all have dry earwax and we are not at all asian. I was horrified the first time I cleaned my daughter's ears and found all this thick, sticky goo.

To answer the question: I also use q-tips - occasionally moistened, and kindof press against the outside of the canal while twirling in a circular motion, but have been forever intrigued and terrified by those little scoopie loop things.

My pediatrician recommended a few drops of olive oil to loosen up wax and help it move out on its own, but idk if that's specific to disgusting euro-wax.
posted by lilnublet at 8:59 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

A q-tip twirl immediately after a shower.
posted by quince at 9:51 PM on February 11, 2012

Those thin bamboo ear picks. They do take some practice to use. I find them much more effective than Q-tips.
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:38 AM on February 12, 2012

posted by spec80 at 7:30 AM on February 12, 2012

I am not Asian, but I can tell you that I get the best results by having a hot, hot bath and slumping waaay down in the water so it goes in my ears. I stay like that for a long time. It's kinda fun, actually. You can pretend you're a hippo or something. Blow bubbles. Play submarines, of you're a man. Ahem. Never mind. Then, when you finally drag yourself out of the swamp, get straight in there with the old Q-Tip. Ignore the people who say don't do this; that is what Q-Tips are for. It's just that the company is not allowed to say so in order to cover themselves against lawsuits from the kind of sub-moronic numpty who would be stupid enough to jam the things dangerously hard or far into their ears. Just carefully poke it in there and rotate it around the sides of the outer ear canal, twisting the stem between your fingers. Feels good, man. One of life's great pleasures.
posted by Decani at 2:46 PM on February 12, 2012

The absolute most satisfying way to get earwax out is to have your ear canals irrigated with a syringe filled with warm water by a nurse or doctor. If your earwax is really dry it helps to put in a few drops of warm oil each night for several nights before the appointment. Having a huge, nasty, discoloured cast of ear wax pop out of your ear is such a wonderful feeling (as gross as it is) - you feel clean afterwards, and you can hear everything. If you're someone who produces and accumulates a lot of earwax, you may need to have this done every few years.

I'm not sure how helpful this is, but I've been told that for maintenance, it's good to try to soften the wax in the shower. You point your ear directly underneath the showerhead, and pull your outer ear upwards and outwards. Let the warm water wash in and out like that for 20 seconds. If you do that daily or almost daily it should prevent or at least slow down earwax from accumulating in the canal.
posted by mossicle at 3:51 PM on February 12, 2012

I LOVE having my ears cleaned out with mossicle's warm-water syringe. A nurse or doctor will be able to tell when it is all out and they will keep the water from running down your neck.
posted by ramenopres at 8:39 PM on February 12, 2012

IANADyet, but during my primary care practicum the doc I was following would recommend that patients with buildup just rinse out their ears with water while they showered-- no q-tips or other paraphernalia necessary. Just get the water in your year and then shake it out like you do after you've been in the pool. Water picks & the like are really only for severe impactions (the likes of which should be dealt with by your ENT). As for the stuff they're selling on amazon, most of it's 2% acetic acid (dilute vinegar), or hydrogen peroxide (or olive oil, mineral oil, carbamide peroxide 6.5%, and docusate sodium-- my suspicion is that the water is the important part).
posted by The White Hat at 8:46 PM on February 12, 2012

Decani: "Ignore the people who say don't do this; that is what Q-Tips are for."

No, Q-tips just smush the wax against the side of the ear canal or worse, push it deeper in.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:21 PM on February 15, 2012

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