Seek prompt medical attention for ear infection, ear pain/discharge
Over-the-Counter (OTC) eardrops for loosening earwax- check with pharmacist
FDA cleared devices to remove earwax - check with doctor
Insert/instill any objects or liquids without knowing more
Non FDA-reviewed home remedies
Ear candles (Candling)
Online product claims of 'FDA approved' - likely false promotion. Check with doctor/pharmacist
OTC ear drops should not contain local anesthetic agent. Check the label on package, talk to pharmacist
What is Earwax?
A yellow secretion from glands in the outer ear (cerumen) that keeps the skin of the ear dry and protected from infection.
What can happen with excessive earwax buildup?
- Reduced hearing
- Sudden deafness
- Damage to audio devices
- Damage to hearing aids if you use them
FDA's advice on all OTC medicines - applies to OTC eardrops
Today's medicine cabinets contain a growing choice of over-the-counter, OTC, medicines to treat a growing number of health problems. Common OTC medicines include pain relievers, laxatives, cough and cold products, and antacids. Some OTC medicines however, can affect the way prescription medicines work or are used by the body. Always talk with your doctor about all OTC medicines you take. Here are some important tips to remember:
Always read and follow the directions on the medicine label. OTC medicine labels give you all the information you need to take the medicine the right way and tell you:
Active and inactive ingredients,
What the medicine is used for,
Interactions or side effects that could happen,
How and when (or when not) to take the medicine,
Choose OTC medicines that have only the ingredients you need. It is a good idea to only use medicines that treat the problems or symptoms you have. Ask your pharmacist for help. If you are taking more than one medicine, pay attention to the "active ingredients" to avoid taking too much of the same ingredient.
Check for package tampering and the expiration date. Don't buy medicines if the packaging has been broken or if the expiration date has passed. The expiration date tells you the date after which the product may not be as effective.
Talk to your doctor if taking an OTC medicine becomes a regular habit. Most OTC medicines are only to be used for a short time.
Inform and help the FDA to find harmful products
Report if you had harmful experience with a ear drop or other product claiming to clean wax