water ear wax

Photo: Ronyhamud/istock

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There's a right way to use water

Some people use waterpiks in their ears (yes, the devices that are used to clean teeth), but these high-pressure systems can cause ear trauma, says Schwartz. Irrigation products designed for ears, on the other hand, are generally safe, he says. Look for those with low pressure that have a safety tip on the end. Another option is filling a bulb syringe with warm water and flushing out the ears. One 2011 study found that using wax-softening drops followed by at-home irrigation could potentially save patients a visit to the doctor's office. The only issue is that it is possible for water to get trapped between the ear wax that's become impacted and the eardrum, leading to an infection, says Barnes. If you try to flush, but still suffer from wax that doesn't budge, see your doctor to remove the blockage.