Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Ear Remedies

Patients always ask what they can do on their own to prevent chronic ear problems. Here’s a Top Ten List of my Do’s and Don’ts for your ears. It’s a condensed version of what I tell my patients all the time. Hope they help you to avoid ear problems from plaguing you.

1. DO…use a blow dryer to keep ears dry after water sports.
1. DON’T…undergo ear candling to remove ear wax—it doesn’t work.
2. DO…use nasal saline to keep nasal passageways clear during allergy season to prevent ear and sinus blockage.
2. DON’T…use a Q-tip to clean out your ears. Better yet, remove them entirely from your bathroom medicine cabinet.
3. DO…apply sunscreen to the back of your ears as the skin there is prone to sun exposure.
3. DON’T...expose your ears to continuous loud noises. Translation: turn your iPod down.
4. DO…use a 50:50 alcohol and vinegar solution as ear drops to evaporate excess water and keep your ears dry if you’re prone to swimmer’s ear.
4. DON’T…smoke
5. DO…see a physician if you experience sudden onset hearing loss
5. DON’T…ignore sudden hearing loss
6. DO… cover your ears when exposed to loud noises
6. DON’T… use ear plugs if you have wax problems
7. DO…have a qualified physician remove ear wax
7. DON’T…try to remove ear wax on your own
8. DO…use hydrogen peroxide or mineral oil to periodically loosen ear wax
8. DON’T…use anything smaller than your elbow to clean inside your ears.
9. DO…use OTC decongestants while flying if prone to ear popping
9. DON’T…eat right before you go to bed—eat at least 3 hours before instead.
10. DO…use mineral or olive oil to drown live insects that get stuck in your ears (& get the dead insect removed by an ENT)
10. DON’T…scratch the inside of your ear with a pen or any sharp object.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts of Ear Remedies

  1. I’m sorry… “Don’t” use ear candles? “They don’t work”? What makes you say something like that. My family and I have been using them for years, and they do absolute wonders for us.

  2. Cassidy,

    Next time, try this…

    Just before your next candling session, see an ear, nose, throat doctor to examine your ears to document the amount of wax. Get candled. See the ENT again to confirm the wax is gone. If possible, have the candling professional give you a sample of the wax that was removed and have it analyzed to see if it’s human cerumen.

  3. DON’T…use a Q-tip to clean out your ears. Better yet, remove them entirely from your bathroom medicine cabinet.

    BAD ADVICE! My teacher told me this when I was about 7 years old, and I stopped cleaning out my ears with q-tips. A short time after my mother took me to a Dr that did some PAINFUL pressurized procedure to remove the wax that had built up in my ears from NOT cleaning them daily with q-tips. I will NEVER stop using q-tips again!

  4. “8. DON’T…use anything larger than your elbow to clean inside your ears.”

    I think you meant *smaller* than your elbow, ie. don’t go poking anything at all deep into your ears.