Wax removal is often done dangerously. Unfortunately, most people tend to clean their ears with improper tools and techniques that can potentially lead to hearing loss, impacted ear wax, and other undesirable ear-related issues. We at Associates in Hearing HealthCare understand that cleaning wax out of your ears can be satisfying, but the ear canal is a sensitive area that should be cared for in careful and specific ways. Let us give you some advice on cleaning your ears safely and effectively so that if you really feel the need to remove wax, then you can do so in a way that will not harm your overall ear health.
Cleaning your ears at home
Earwax builds up in your ears as a natural protective lubricant and usually does not require removal. The wax lubricant is needed to keep your ears protected from the outside environment that can have dirt and debris that is harmful to your ear health. The earwax builds up on the outer parts of the ear, not the canal, and your ears can usually clean themselves well enough on their own. Even when your jaw moves while chewing, old earwax is being pushed out from the canal. If you notice that there is ear wax build-up inside the canal of your ear, then that most likely means that the wax built up so much on the outer parts of your ear that it ended up getting pushed to the back or that you used a Q-tip and unintentionally pushed the wax even farther back into your ear. However, if you feel the need to remove excess wax, you can do this by rubbing a warm moist washcloth against the outer portions of your ear or you can add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to soften the wax inside your ear so that it can come out easier. Buying an over-the-counter earwax removal kit is also an option. If you choose this option, be sure to read and follow the kit’s instructions thoroughly.
Precautionary Tips for Wax Removal:
- Do not use sharp or pointy objects inside your ear, it can cause infection, rupturing of the eardrum, or significant hearing loss
- Do not use ear wax removing candles because studies have shown that they’re ineffective and can cause injury to the ear such as burns
- Use a damp washcloth or cotton swabs to clean the outside of the ear
- Use over-the-counter ear cleaning drops or cleaning kits to ensure that what you’re using for your ears is safe and effective
- Use a saline solution with a syringe to irrigate your ears after softening the wax with hydrogen peroxide or another ear cleaning solution of your choice
- Do not attempt to irrigate your ears if you have diabetes, a compromised immune system, a hole in your eardrum, or tubes in the affected ear
- Mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, peroxide, and saline can all be used to help soften wax when cleaning your ears
- The signs of an ear infection include pain, fluid drainage, and impaired hearing (call your doctor if these symptoms become unbearable or do not subside after cleaning your ears)
- Be sure to contact a doctor for a diagnosis and/or medication if you experience blockage or impaction in either or both of your ears causing symptoms of aching, ringing, impaired hearing, bad odor, dizziness, or cough
- It is usually more necessary to go to the doctor for regular ear cleaning if you wear hearing aids or earplugs
- Seniors and individuals with developmental disabilities are at higher risk of a blocked or impacted ear requiring professional cleaning
- Having your ears cleaned too frequently can lead to irritation of your canals or further impactation
- If you do not treat a blocked ear promptly, you may suffer from hearing loss that could become permanent
- If you notice that your ears become impacted frequently, it may be a good idea to tell your doctor to schedule routine cleanings
Overall ear health:
Now that you know how to keep your ears clean, here are some extra tips on how to keep them healthy.
- Do not frequently listen to loud noises
- Take breaks from using your headphones and don’t listen to the volume on full blast
- Dry your ears after getting out of a pool or bath to prevent swimmer’s ear by patting them dry and tilting your head to remove excess water
- Take note if you notice any changes in your hearing with certain medications and call a doctor if you experience balance issues, ringing in the ears, pain, hearing loss, or if you suffer an ear injury
Now that you know how sensitive your ears really are, how to clean them, and what to look for when thinking about calling a doctor, you’ll be much more informed and prepared the next time you or a loved one suffers from any ear-related issues. Wax removal has to be conducted safely. Overall, stay on top of new strategies as well. If you’re unsure what to do and think you might need medical advice or attention, please contact us as soon as possible and we would be more than happy to get your questions answered and schedule you for an appointment so that we can take a closer look at the issue(s) you may be experiencing so that we can give you an accurate diagnosis and a clear solution to get your ear health back on track. We look forward to hearing from you and we thank you for your continued business and support!