Drops for Removing Ear Wax

The majority of individuals should never have to remove ear wax, the ears, have a way of self cleaning (so to speak), however, for some of us, ear wax buildup can become problematic. Symptoms of an ear wax blockage may include: a feeling of fullness in the ears, itching, decreased hearing, tinnitus (ear ringing), earache, ear discharge, or a foul odor in the ears. There are several methods for removing excess ear wax including commercial ear drops.

This article will discuss the different kinds of drops that can be used to remove ear wax.

It should be noted that ear drops should never be used on someone who may have a ruptured or otherwise impaired ear drum, or on an individual who has synthetic ventilation tubes without the approval of your physician.

Carbamide Peroxide

Several commerical ear drops that use carbamide peroxide as their main ingredient are available over-the-counter. Some brand names include Auraphene B, Murine and Debrox. These ear drops claim to be safe for use in individuals ages 12 years old and up. The drops are typically used twice a day for up to four days at a time to soften and loosen excess ear wax. It is typical for carbamide peroxide to foam.

Ear drops containing carbamide peroxide should not be used by individuals who are allergic to carbamide peroxide or any of the other listed ingredients. Signs of an allergic reaction which may be serious include: difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips tongue or throat.

Go to the emergency room or call 911 if you experience these symptoms. Stop using carbamide peroxide drops and call your physician if you experience the following: severe dizziness, discharge or bleeding from the ear, persistent itching, or persistent hearing loss. Mild side effects that may occur while using this medication include temporary hearing loss immediately after using the drops, a feeling of fullness in the ear or itching.

Triethanolamine Polypeptide Oleate (Cerumenex)

This medication is generally used under the direction of a doctor to remove earwax prior to an ear examination or hearing test. It is not commonly prescribed due to a high risk of adverse reaction. It should not be used by individuals with a perforated eardrum or ventilation tubes. It should be used in caution in individuals who may be suffering from Swimmer's Ear.

The medication is safe to use inside the ear canal but should not touch the skin outside of the ear. If it is accidentally spilled on the skin around the ear it should be immediately cleaned off with soap and water. Side effects of this medication may include allergic reaction, contact dermatitis, skin ulcerations, burning or pain.

Other Commonly Used Substances

Some commonly used substances for softening and removing ear wax, which are not expressly sold for this purpose include: Baby oil, Mineral oil, olive oil, and hydrogen peroxide. The prescription medication antipyrine and benzocaine otic solution may also be used to soften excess ear wax.


American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Earwax and Care. Accessed: July 27, 2015 from http://www.entnet.org/content/earwax-and-care

American Hearing Research Foundation. Earwax. Accessed: July 28, 2015 from http://american-hearing.org/disorders/ear-wax/

Debrox.com. Debrox & How it Works. Accessed: July 27, 2015 from http://www.debrox.com/Debrox%20and%20How%20it%20Works.aspx

emedicine health. What are the possible side effects of carbamide peroxide. Accessed: July 27, 2015 from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-carbamide_peroxide_otic/article_em.htm#sideeffects

FDA.gov. Cerumenex Ear Drops (PDF). Accessed: July 28, 2015 from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2002/11340s16lbl.pdf

Continue Reading