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Some Hydrogen Peroxide Uses For Your Ears

Updated on January 4, 2015

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is a highly reactive chemical compound that is a staple in many American first-aid kits due to its mild bactericidal properties and its ability to clean wounds. Available in pharmacies across the nation for a few dollars or less, that little brown bottle may be helpful to have on hand for everything from whitening teeth to lightening hair. Even your ears may benefit from the chemical. With the approval of a doctor, a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the ear can serve to soften earwax in the ear canal, protect your body from cold or flu viruses, and to prevent or treat ear infections.

Earwax

According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, some earwax is helpful in shielding the ear from infection. However, too much earwax can reduce hearing or it can trap bacteria in the ear canal, heightening the risk of an ear infection. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to soften earwax to clean the ear if there is no perforation of the eardrum. The Mayo Clinic suggests using an eyedropper to drop hydrogen peroxide into the ear canal twice a day for up to five days. After wax is sufficiently softened, a bulb-syringe may be used to gently squirt warm water into the ear to cleanse the wax from the canal. Allow water and wax to drain from the ear and then dry the outer ear with a towel.

Upper respiratory infections

Some advocates of hydrogen peroxide, including Dr. Mercola, renowned alternative medicine proponent, believe that using an eyedropper to administer a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in each ear as you would to clean earwax may fight off upper respiratory infections. The ear canal is a direct path through which bacteria can pass, causing a cold or the flu. Administering hydrogen peroxide can kill those bacteria, preventing or rapidly healing a cold or the flu. Similarly, many believe that gargling with hydrogen peroxide, though it may irritate an already-sore throat, may also kill bacteria that are causing a cold.

Ear infections

The bactericidal properties of hydrogen peroxide may also be effective at healing adult ear infections, as long as the ear infection has not caused eardrum rupture or the infection is on the external ear. Ear infections are often a result of the small Eustachian tube swelling. When the tube swells, it confines ear fluid, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Ear infections are also known to cause excess secretions in the ear, which can occlude the ear canal, making hearing difficult and preventing the diagnosis of the problem by hiding the infection from a doctor’s view. Hydrogen peroxide dropped into the ear can soften or loosen these secretions.

Though hydrogen peroxide is perhaps better known for its uses in cleaning cuts and as a whitening agent, the same properties that have made it popular for these uses can also provide health benefits to the auditory system. But, before using hydrogen peroxide in the ear, a doctor should be consulted to ensure there is no perforation of the eardrum or that an infection is not located too close to the eardrum. Using hydrogen peroxide in these cases could cause serious problems such as mastoiditis, pain, and even deafness. Though serious side effects of hydrogen peroxide are rare and the FDA has approved the sale of diluted hydrogen peroxide for use in households, a chat with a medical professional can ensure the product is used safely.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.

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