Tips to Clean Your Ears
Just like other parts of your body, it’s important to clean your ears. With no cleaning at all, earwax can build up and become impacted, leading to ear aches, ringing in the ears or even hearing loss. Here are some tips to clean your ears the right way.
Avoid cotton swabs and other objects
It may come as a surprise to you that cotton swabs are not the best way to clear your ears of earwax. The cotton can rub and irritate the ear canal and it’s likely the swab will push earwax into the canal toward the eardrum rather than remove it.
Sometimes people use hairpins, pen caps, pointed objects, etc. to remove earwax. This is dangerous. Any foreign object inserted in the ear canal can bruise your eardrum or even tear a hole in it. Never put any object in your ears that isn’t specifically made for the task.
Health care professionals strongly recommend avoiding a practice called “ear candling.” This alternative medicine practice uses a hollow candle to create a vacuum in the ear canal, which supposedly softens earwax. The process is not proven to remove earwax and may cause injury.
The best method for cleaning your ears
Because the ear is self-cleaning, many people do not have to clear their ears of wax. Wax forms near the outer part of the ear canal, so the only way it can go deep near the eardrum is to be forced that way by foreign objects (i.e. cotton swabs, etc.).
The best way to clear your ears of wax is to use a washcloth or a tissue a couple of times a week. Wipe along the outer edges of your ears after you shower or bathe. If necessary, you can gently irrigate your ears in the shower to help loosen earwax. Be careful to allow the ear canal to dry because too much moisture can cause problems.
Removing earwax buildup
Some people produce more earwax than others. There are some safe ways to remove earwax at home, including over-the-counter eardrops. Avoid using these products more than once or twice a month because overuse can cause irritation or even infection. Mineral oil or baby oil are safe to use once or twice a week for wax removal; three to five drops in each ear will soften earwax and prevent build-up.
For more serious earwax buildup or impaction, at-home irrigation kits are available. However, if you experience symptoms such as a bad odor, itching or an ear infection, it’s best to see a hearing care provider about earwax removal.
Keeping your ears healthy and clean is an easy task. A simple wipe of the outer ear a few times a week should keep earwax at bay. For some, cleaning products can assist to clean your ears. Sometimes a visit to a health care professional for earwax removal provides a great benefit.