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I was born with congenital bone fusions in several places in my body, one of those places are in the set of three small bones (malleus, incus, and stapes) in both my ears. Because they are fused, they don't vibrate. I've had several ear surgeries, which have unfortunately only caused nerve-damage and scar-tissue so I'm hearing-impaired. Bottom-line: I've been wearing hearing-aids my entire life.

Growing up, I would always use a Q-tip to clean out the earwax buildup in my ears (hearing-aids are constantly in my ears so they don't allow my ears to "breathe" and trap in a lot of bacteria). However, as research became more available as the years went by, audiologists and doctors alike have told me that Q-tips are not the best way to clean out your ears. In fact, they have the potential to cause further damage to your ears because you may just be jamming the earwax further down your ear canal, which can lead to infections/inflammations/loss of hearing, etc.

So the alternative method to cleaning out my ears with a Q-tip was to blow-dry them when I got out of the shower. I did this for a few years until the audiologists said that even though the blow-dryer doesn't sound too loud to me, I could be causing a lot of damage to my ear drums.

I don't recall what the alternative cleaning method has since been. How do I clean out my ears on a regular/daily basis? Yes, I am fully aware that a doctor can flush out the earwax, but I don't have the time nor the money to constantly be seeing the doctor since I have earwax everyday due to my hearing aids. I have a lot.

What is the safest, most effective, yet realistic/practical method?

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I am not aware of any evidence based research looking at the efficacy of at home ear wax removal. In general the goal is not to make your ear canals 100% free of wax at the microscopic level. Rather, the goal is remove blockages and NOT damage the ear canal. The American Academy of Otolaryngolgoy recommends:

Most cases of ear wax blockage respond to home treatments used to soften wax. Patients can try placing a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial drops in the ear. Detergent drops such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide (available in most pharmacies) may also aid in the removal of wax.

Irrigation or ear syringing is commonly used for cleaning and can be performed by a physician or at home using a commercially available irrigation kit...

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I was advised to use olive oil specifically by my doctor, he was also very firm in his assertion that the ear should be self-cleaning by virtue of the villi (sp?) - the hairs in the ear canal passing the wax out. Can you put some oil in followed by some cotton wool to seal and then sleep on your side? That would allow body heat to warm it up a bit

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    Welcome to health SE :-). Stackexchange network operates differently than a forum - it is designed as a Q&A website intended to serve for collection of knowledge. Since health is a delicate topic it is required that answers are backed up with reliable references. For more information on how the site works please take our tour or visit the help center and Medical Sciences Meta. Thanks! – Lucky Nov 19 '16 at 4:34

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