Is hydrogen peroxide safe for use in the ear? It is important to understand what hydrogen peroxide is and the safe ways to use it in the ear for various reasons. It is important to note that there are some side effects as well to the use of hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide – definition
Symbol (H2O2)
Hydrogen peroxide is made up of a chemical compound that is classified as a weak acid. In 1818, Louis Jacques Thenard first discovered hydrogen peroxide. In some cases, the hydrogen peroxide is colorless. This colorless substance is less viscous than water. It is also odorless.
Hydrogen peroxide has also served effectively as an oxidation agent. Hydrogen peroxide is friendly to the environment. This is due to the fact that they don’t introduce any hazardous residue into the environment. When using hydrogen peroxide as an oxidation agent, the strength can be set according to what it is needed for.
The process of making hydrogen peroxide
The most common process of making hydrogen peroxide is called the autoxidation process. This method is broken down into 4 steps which are:
Anthraquinone Hydrogenation
Anthraquinone oxidation
Hydrogen peroxide extraction
Hydrogen peroxide purification and concentration
Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide
There are quite a number of uses of hydrogen peroxide in the field of medicine. The most common use of the Hydrogen peroxide is in the treatment of some kind of ear infection and hearing problem.
Using hydrogen peroxide as a medical remedy
This chemical is one that can be easily found in the home. Hydrogen peroxide has a variety of uses in hospitals for medical purposes. The chemical formula for hydrogen peroxide is H2O2 which has a close resemblance to that of water and can react in similar ways to H2O sometimes. The uses of hydrogen peroxide are versatile whether in the home, hospital or even in industries. Hydrogen peroxide can be very beneficial when it is diluted. However, using hydrogen peroxide in a high concentration can have great side effects.
According to Dr. William Campbell Douglass a specialist in the field of healthcare based in Georgia. Metabolites are essential to everyday life practices. Hydrogen peroxide was first put into the application a few years after the world war I which is in the 1940s. hydrogen peroxide was introduced into the field of medicine by father Wilhelm Richard. It was administered intravenously as a treatment for pneumonia which worked very effectively. As a result of father Wilhelm’s study, numerous benefits of hydrogen peroxide was also discovered. Over the years, hydrogen peroxide has been used in the effective treatment of different kinds of bacteria caused infections, mental illnesses, and even polio.
Besides the use of hydrogen peroxide for treatment, it has also been used as a disinfectant for hospital instruments. It can also serve as a way of disinfecting the mouth from germs in its diluted form. This means that hydrogen peroxide when diluted can be used as a mouth wash. This process is approved and reorganized as effective by the Food and Drug Administration. There are a number of manufacturers who make use of hydrogen peroxide as a key ingredient in the manufacture of their dental products.
Hydrogen peroxide has also been used in dermatology for the treatment of various kinds of skin infections. This includes insect bites, burns, acne, cold sores and boils. Some doctors have also effectively applied hydrogen peroxide to the treatment of arthritis. The can kill the causative agents of arthritis which is streptococcus viridians. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to treat various forms of fungal and viral infections. This is because hydrogen peroxide has a lot of effective properties.
Using hydrogen peroxide for the treatment of various ear conditions
Hydrogen peroxide is one chemical that has been prescribed over and over for some kind of medical conditions. The antioxidant nature and bleaching qualities of this chemical are the key reasons it has enjoyed repeated prescription. As a result of the nascent oxygen present in hydrogen peroxide, it is colorless and odorless. This oxygen is a radical kind of oxygen that is very reactive with high activity exhibition. The properties of hydrogen peroxide make it a suitable chemical for sterilization and as an effective antiseptic against microorganisms. It is important to understand that the pathogens on the surface of an object can be gotten rid of by changing their membrane integrity. This is why hydrogen peroxide has become an important and useful chemical in the field of medical and general use.
Besides its medical uses as an antiseptic and for disinfection, hydrogen peroxide has been put into various uses for the treatment of ear infection and partial hearing loss. It has become a very important chemical when it comes to the removal of earwax for the clogged ear canal. The National Library of Medicine has a lot of studies regarding this usage of hydrogen peroxide. Zone of such studies published in 2004 outlines some of the benefits of earwax irrigation.
While the active benefits of hydrogen peroxide in the removal of ear wax cannot be overemphasized, it has also maintained a good spot as the most cost-effective way of earwax removal at home. While hydrogen peroxide is seen as a very useful substance, there are also potential risks associated with the use of this chemical. Therefore, the usage and dosage need to be monitored and in the right amount. There are hydrogen peroxide eardrops recommended by hospitals which are around 3% concentration. In countries like Australia, hydrogen peroxide ear drops have been substituted with water eardrops for clearing a clogged ear canal of earwax. This idea is shared in publications by the Australian Family Physicians.
According to another report from Cambridge, the journal states that the use of water alone as an effective irrigation method is not a very effective way of unclogging the ear canal. Addition of sodium bicarbonate or an oil-based medium proves more effective. Hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide exhibit the same characteristics when they come in contact with water.
There are quite a number of ear infections that have been successfully treated by hydrogen peroxide. Some of these include:
Removal of excessive earwax
Medically, earwax we are talking about here is referred to as cerumen. This is a thick wax that appears yellowish in color. The function of the earwax is to protect the ears from foreign bodies.
It is not a new thing to see an ear clogged with earwax. It is a normal scenario for the ear to be accumulated with ear wax. This, however, can lead to various kinds of ear problems. These include impacted earwax, various types of ear infection and temporal deafness as the case may be. Hydrogen peroxide is used to soften ear wax to make it easier to remove.
According to reports from Mayo Clinic, applying hydrogen peroxide to the ear is an effective way of softening the ear wax. Mayo Clinic also warns that using hydrogen peroxide in the ear should be carried out with caution. It should never be applied to the ear if the ear canal has a tube or a hole. Mayo Clinic also points out the fact that hydrogen peroxide can be used when the buildup of earwax is so much and has partially blocked off the ear canal. Mayo Clinic recommends the use of hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil or glycerin twice a day for four or five days. It is advisable for the ear to be irrigated with water to remove softened ear wax.
Dr. Sears is of the view that flushing the ear wax with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.
Hydrogen peroxide in the ear for treatment of cold
One of the uses of hydrogen peroxide is the treatment of cold and flu. The research discovered that ailments such as cold and flu take place in the ear canal. A diluted hydrogen peroxide solution (3%) is dropped into the ear canal. This effectively helps in the treatment of the ailment.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to get rid of water in the ear
It is easy to get our ears clogged as a result of water in our ear. One of the major ways by which we get water in our ears is during swimming. We can also get water in our ears during shower time. Once you notice your ear is clogged as a result of water in the ear, there are a few steps to take to unclog the ear.
The first step is to fill a small bowl with warm water. Warm water helps reduce your chances of contracting an ear infection. Add a small quantity of hydrogen peroxide into the water to make a solution. With the aid of an applicator, get the solution and drop it into the affected ear while lying on the unaffected ear. Lay still for up to 15 minutes. As soon as you begin to notice bubbling in your ear, know it’s the hydrogen peroxide bubbling. Now, carefully turn and lay down on the affected ear to help drain out the water. It is important to place a small bowl under the affected ear to help collect the drained fluid.
Draining the ear helps reduce the pressure in the ear as a result of clogging. In cases where the hydrogen peroxide refuses to unclog your ear which is often a rare occurrence, it is advisable to visit a professional to have your ears checked.
Hydrogen peroxide as a pain killer
Hydrogen peroxide is used as a painkiller. When dropped in the ear, it helps to relieve pain caused by cuts and scrapping in the ear.
Treatment of body piercing
Hydrogen peroxide aids in the treatment of all forms of piercing. Ear piercing, nose piercing, lips piercing and a navel piercing. When hydrogen peroxide is applied to piercings, it helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and enhances the healing process. For this process, you require a cotton swab and the hydrogen peroxide. First, wash your hands neatly with antibacterial hand wash or sanitizer and allow to dry. Dip the cotton swab in a hydrogen peroxide solution. Gently apply to the pierced area and allow to dry. Depending on the type of piercing, you may repeat process 2 to 3 times daily for the best effective result.
The use of hydrogen peroxide on your body piercing will not only enhance the healing process but will as well prevent you from contacting a bacterial infection as a result of your piercing.
Is the use of hydrogen peroxide safe?
People are always advised not to proceed with the use of hydrogen peroxide without guidance from a physician. Therefore, before you proceed with the treatment of any kind of ailment with the use of hydrogen peroxide, it is important to first consult your physician or doctor. It is important to understand the dosage and efficacy level of the chemical before proceeding to use. This will help you stay in check. An overdose of chemicals can sometimes have severe consequences. Those with sensitive skin have also reported some form of side effects such as itching, rashes, pain and even vertigo after the use of hydrogen peroxide in the ear.
There some identified cases in which you should avoid the use of hydrogen peroxide for the ear. These include:

  • When you’re already experiencing a severe ear pain

  • In some cases of temporal deafness

  • When you’re experiencing a flow or a discharge from the ear.

These cases require serious medical attention and therefore, it is important to visit a physician.
Some of the reported side effects of using hydrogen peroxide in the ear
The use of hydrogen peroxide is considered safe when it is used in the right quantity and according to prescription. This implies that it must be used in the right concentration. Hydrogen peroxides are designed for industrial purposes and therefore, one must apply caution when using this chemical.
An overdose of hydrogen peroxide can be very harmful to the ear. It can completely damage the ear especially when it is used for the treatment of middle ear infection. This is also harmful in cases where the ear canal is already punctured or the eardrum is ruptured. There are also some reported cases of mastoiditis as a result of hydrogen peroxide entering the mastoid cavity and middle ear.
Some of the potential side effects of using hydrogen peroxide without the supervision of a physician are as follows:

  • From mild to severe ear pain

  • Fluid effusion from the ear

  • Hypersensitivity

  • Partial deafness

  • Mastoiditis

When you notice any of these side effects after the use of hydrogen peroxide in the ear, it is important to consult your physician or doctor. Avoid further complicating issues by attempting to treat it at home or by flushing.
Is it advisable to use hydrogen peroxide for the treatment of middle ear infection?
Hydrogen peroxide must not be used in the treatment of middle ear infection. In most cases, the use of hydrogen peroxide for middle ear infection has proven counterproductive. The middle ear is too close to the eardrum. Use of hydrogen peroxide for middle ear infection can lead to perforation of the eardrum. This can result in anything from partial to total deafness. It is important to visit a hospital with an ENT to have your ear properly examined and the right medication prescribed.
How frequently should you use hydrogen peroxide for an ear infection?
From the publication by the Northern Health Organization. Antibiotics can interact with hydrogen peroxide. Therefore, the use of hydrogen peroxide together with antibiotics is not advisable. The publication further stresses on the need to have at least a 30 minutes’ time interval before the use of antibiotics after using hydrogen peroxide. If not properly used, it can cause antibiotics to lose its efficacy.
Hydrogen peroxide should be applied three times a day for the treatment of outer ear infection. The use of the chemical for the treatment of middle ear infection as the case may be must be done under the supervision of a medical doctor. In the case where hydrogen peroxide is prescribed alongside an antibiotics medication, it is advisable to use the hydrogen peroxide first. Wait for at least 30 minutes before going ahead with the antibiotics.
When treating an outer ear infection, hydrogen peroxide should be used three times a day for 5 to 7 days depending on the severity of the infection. If the infection is not so severe, you may use hydrogen peroxide treatment just once a week. To reduce the need for ear cleaning, scheduling ear cleaning weekly or monthly can reduce the need for cleaning.
Do not simply get your hearing aids wet for no reason.
Safety measures before use and after use of hydrogen peroxide
There are some points you need to consider before using and after the use of hydrogen peroxide. For the treatment of ear infection. These points include:

  1. Avoid the use of hydrogen peroxide in very high concentrations. It is safe to only use hydrogen peroxide in 3% concentration and not higher. This is the suggested dosage by healthcare professionals for the treatment of ear infection and the removal of earwax from the ear.

  2. Avoid the use of hydrogen peroxide for the treatment of inner ear infection. They are basically suitable for the treatment of outer ear infection. Caution should also be taken when using hydrogen peroxide for the treatment of the middle ear. This is due to the fact that the middle ear is closer to the eardrum. It is even much safer to avoid the use of hydrogen peroxide for the treatment of middle ear infection.

  3. For those with a hole on their eardrum, the use of hydrogen peroxide is greatly discouraged. This can lead to a condition known as mastoiditis. This happens as a result of chemicals gaining access to the middle ear as well as the mastoid cavity.

  4. The use of hydrogen peroxide too frequently should be avoided. This can lead to excessive dryness of the ear canal. This can cause the skin in the ear canal to start breaking up. This can also lead to itching of the ear.

How long is it advisable to leave hydrogen peroxide in the ear?  
When hydrogen peroxide is dropped in the ear, it should be allowed to bubble and fizzle till the fizzling stops. This process takes a short time of about 2 to 3 minutes. It is important to live hydrogen peroxide in the ear for this duration of time. Once the fizzling has stopped, ensure to drain the ear subsequently. For first time users of hydrogen peroxide, tolerating the fizzling can be a difficult tax.
Hydrogen peroxide bubbles and fizzles in the ear – why?
When hydrogen peroxide gets in contact with a certain surface, it bubbles. It’s a normal chemical reaction. Let’s take for instance some transition metals. When they come in contact with hydrogen peroxide, they can cause the decay of the chemical leading to the creation of water and oxygen. The oxygen present in the hydrogen peroxide is the cause of the fizzling and bubbling.
What if the hydrogen peroxide fails to bubble?
There is a simple explanation as to why the hydrogen peroxide fails to fizzle when introduced into the ear. This simply means that the concentration is low. The most effective way of neutralizing the fizzling effect is by weakening the chemical with increased factors or by the use of the enzyme called catalase. The quality of the container used can also make the chemical less fuzzy. For containers with high oxidizing agents, the chemical will be less fuzzy. There are, however, rare cases in which the hydrogen peroxide fails to bubble.
Dealing with ear pain that arises from the use of hydrogen peroxide.
In cases where pain arises from the use of hydrogen peroxide in the ear, it can be treated with analgesics. There are various forms of pain killers that can also be used to take care of pain in the ear. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; paracetamols can also be used. The use of Aspirin in children below the age of 20 is highly not recommended to avoid Reye’s Syndrome.