How to Remove Ear Wax With a Curette

Ear wax is a substance made in your ear to protect the skin from water and infection, according to the American Hearing Research Foundation. The wax can trap bacteria, dust and foreign particles from getting in your ear. Sometimes, this wax builds up and gets trapped in your ear. There are specific steps to remove ear wax with a curette.

Doctor examining woman's ear with an otoscope (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 1

Attach the metal speculum to the otoscope (device used to look in the ear). The metal speculum allows you to narrow the field in which you view the ear canal.

Step 2

Hold the otoscope firmly in your dominant hand and gently pull the right earlobe down using the thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand. This will make insertion of the metal speculum in the ear canal easier.

Step 3

Tell the patient to remain still. If the patient is a child, have the parent stabilize the child's head because rapid movements can seriously damage the ear.

Step 4

Put the metal speculum into the right ear canal and look through the otoscope's glass window to view the inside of the ear. Look for ear wax. It is usually amber, yellow or brown in color and it can be soft or hard in consistency. Sometimes the ear wax can be visualized without the otoscope because the ear wax is at the ear canal's entrance.

Step 5

Remove the metal speculum and otoscope from the ear and hold the curette in your dominant hand. Place the tip of the curette into the ear canal and gently scape out the ear wax. If the ear wax is located farther in the ear canal, use an ENT binocular microscope to view the wax.

Step 6

Turn on the ENT binocular microscope and sit in a comfortable position.

Step 7

Remove the metal speculum from the otoscope and place it in the ear canal. Look through the ENT binocular microscope and aim the light toward the opening of the metal speculum. You should be able to see the ear canal well.

Step 8

Hold the curette in your dominant hand and hold the sides of the metal speculum with your non-dominant forefinger and thumb to stabilize it.

Step 9

Place the curette into the metal speculum's opening and look through the ENT binocular microscope again.

Step 10

Push the curette gently into the ear canal and scrape out the remaining wax.

Step 11

Repeat steps 1 to 10 to remove wax from the left ear. You have successfully removed ear wax with a curette.

Things You'll Need

  • Curette

  • Otoscope

  • Metal speculum

  • ENT binocular microscope


Make small and deliberate movements when using the curette. This is important to prevent any injury.


Do not push the curette too far into the ear canal. This may accidentally damage the eardrum.

Pay attention to the patient. If he flinches from pain, stop what you are doing.This procedure should be painless. Other painless methods are available to remove the ear wax. Talk to your doctor to see what she recommends.

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