The only safe way to remove ear wax is to wash the outside of the ear or to use an irrigation kit to flush out the excessive ear wax, reports the American Academy of Otolaryngology. People should never use cotton swabs, ear candles or suction devices to remove the wax.
Ear wax is natural and necessary for proper ear functioning, notes Cleveland Clinic. It helps prevent fungus and bacterial infections, and it provides a natural barrier to help prevent water from getting into the ear. People who are prone to thick wax buildup can soften it with baby oil or commercial ear wax softeners to help the ear clean itself.
Ear wax is only formed in the front part of the ear. People who try to clean their own ears incorrectly can accidentally force the ear wax back towards the drum, which leads to discomfort, reports the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Incorrect ear cleaning can cause severe injury, such as eardrum rupture.
People who experience ear pain, loss of hearing or unusual discharge from their ears should visit a doctor, recommends Cleveland Clinic. The doctor can make sure there is not another cause for those problems and safely and effectively clean the ears. Doctors have special suction devices to remove ear wax buildup, and they can recommend a plan for routine maintenance if necessary.