People can remove excess earwax in several different ways. Using ear drops is one easy and effective method. Many commercially available ear drops contain hydrogen peroxide.
While hydrogen peroxide can help remove excess earwax, using too much can irritate the skin inside the ear and lead to other problems.
Earwax is a waxy substance produced in the ear canal. While having earwax is generally a good thing — it protects and cleans the ear canal — too much earwax can cause issues.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, problems with earwax account for about 12 million visits to doctors’ offices and 8 million earwax removal procedures.
In this article, we discuss why a person might put hydrogen peroxide in their ear and what can happen if they use too much.
The medical term for earwax is cerumen. Hydrogen peroxide is a cerumenolytic solution that softens and dissolves earwax. A person may use hydrogen peroxide or ear drops containing hydrogen peroxide to remove excess earwax.
Usually, the ears produce enough earwax to protect and clean the ear canal.
Specialized glands, called ceruminous glands, secrete fats and acidic substances that protect the ear from infections. These secretions trap dead skin cells, dust, and dirt inside the ear. This mixture forms the waxy material commonly known as earwax.
Normally, earwax gets pushed out of the ear canal when a person moves their lower jaw while speaking or eating. However, earwax can accumulate in the ear canal if this natural cleaning process fails.
Factors that can cause excess earwax include:
- wearing hearing aids
- wearing in-ear headphones
- cleaning the ear with cotton buds
- structural abnormalities of the ear canal
If too much earwax builds up in the ear, it can form a plug, resulting in a condition known as cerumen impaction. According to the authors of one 2020 article, cerumen impaction affects an estimated 6% of the general population and more than 30% of older adults.
Excess earwax and cerumen impaction can lead to problems such as:
- hearing difficulties
- tinnitus, or ringing in the ear
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
- ear infection
- ear drainage
Ear drops can contain different types of hydrogen peroxide or other substances that soften earwax.
Carbamide peroxide is a common form of hydrogen peroxide ear drops. These drops release oxygen …….