Managing Ear Wax: Hold the Cotton Swabs!

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Earwax, that yellowish-brown goo, might inspire an “Ick!” or two, but managing it the right way can make a difference in your hearing health. Earwax not only helps keep the ear canal clean but prevents dirt debris from reaching and potentially damaging the eardrum.

Normally you don’t need to remove wax; your ears will naturally handle it by pushing out the excess. When excess buildup gets to the point of causing pain or symptoms like hearing loss or tinnitus, it’s time to clean it out.

What are the dos and don’ts of ear cleaning?

DO use a warm, soft cloth – after washing or showering – to remove normal amounts of earwax at the outer ear, if needed.

DON’T use ear candles, which may cause serious injury and have not been proven effective in scientific studies.

DO gently soften the earwax with drops of warmed olive oil, almond oil, water, or a commercial solution to remove larger amounts of earwax.

DON’T stick cotton swabs or other objects in the ear; they can cause injury and push wax farther into the ear canal.

Sometimes earwax buildup requires the attention of a professional who can examine your ears, determine the nature of the problem, and customize a treatment. If you’re experiencing problems such as hearing loss, blockage of the ear canal, or tinnitus, contact us for an evaluation at 732-818-3610 (Toms River or Whiting) or 609-978-8946 (Manahawkin).

Dr. Izzy and his staff are always available to answer your questions about hearing care. Feel free to visit our website at

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Dr. Kirsh has over 25 years of hearing care experience. Dr. Kirsh received a B.A. in Biopsychology from the University of Maryland, a Master’s of Education (Audiology) from the University of Virginia and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with area of specialization in Audiology from the Union Institute (The Graduate School). Dr. Kirsh completed a fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, has multiple publications, and has received numerous continuing education awards from both ASHA and AAA. Dr. Kirsh is currently a Founder and Director for Audigy Group and has previously served on the Sonus Network advisory board. Dr. Kirsh’s wife, Shira Kirsh, is a Speech-Language Pathologist in private practice at Alliance Speech & Hearing Center (Howell, N.J., 732-942-7220)-an affiliate of GSHBC. Dr. Kirsh has two beautiful children, Melanie and Joseph.