Cerumen Earwax Buildup: Best Ways to Prevent & Treat

Medically speaking, earwax is known as cerumen. Fancy term but when there is a earwax buildup or blockage in your ear or becomes too hard to wash away naturally, it is not so fancy.

Anatomy of the Ear

( important side note: cerumen is extremely important to help the ear canal remove away debris and protect it from things entering the ear).

When I worked in a medical office on the island of Maui, we had hundreds ( I am not kidding) of people come through the office complaining that they couldn’t hear. There were no complaints of pain just usually a ( new) wife joking that her ( new) husband was already not listening to her. In most cases these people came from the mainland where there were in the cold and/or swimming in cold waters; however, once they hit the warm waters of Hawaii, their earwax would expand and block their ear canal.

What to do?

  1. Do not use cotton swabs (a.k.a. Qtips®)! These cotton swabs will push the wax deeper into the canal.
  2. Eat a diet with a good amount of essential fatty acids: cold liver oil, flax oil and hemp seed oil. I like to rotate these.
  3. Warm olive oil with a little garlic in a sauce pan. Soak a cotton ball and when cooled, insert in the affected ear. The oil will help soften the wax and allow it to come out naturally.
  4. Last resort is to head to the doctor. They will be able to extract the wax easily.

Curious about swimmer’s ear? Find out more on what is swimmer’s ear and how to treat it.

Be well,



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Dr. Heather Manley, is a practicing physician whose primary interest is preventative healthcare for families. She was inspired to write her award winning children’s educational adventure series, Human Body Detectives, as she saw a need to teach children how their bodies work & what foods best fuel them. By creating the engaging & entertaining series, children are more apt to make healthier lifestyle decisions. Sign up for my newsletter

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