Do you feel any blockages in your ear?
Can you hear a weird buzzing sound in your ear?
Since your ears produce ear wax to keep themselves clean, you need to make a very minimal effort when it comes to cleaning your ear. However, excess wax can sometimes accumulate, making it difficult to hear. So, when it comes to cleaning your ears, you need to be extra careful to avoid any permanent damage or increased infection risk.
Here is everything you need to know about how you can safely clean your ears, best practices, and things to avoid.
Cerumen, also known as earwax, is a self-cleaning substance that is produced by your ears. This agent helps collect bacteria, dirt, and other fragments that would otherwise settle in your ear. It gathers all these damaging agents naturally by chewing and other motions.
Most people don’t even need to clean their ears. However, sometimes excessive ear wax buildup reaches a certain level that can impact your hearing. This is known as impaction.
Impaction causes you to experience certain symptoms such as.
- Aching in your ear
- Ringing and fullness in your ear
- Impacted hearing
- A foul odor
Those who wear earplugs or hearing aids are more likely to suffer from impaction. Moreover, older people and individuals with developmental disabilities are more susceptible to excess earwax buildup. Additionally, your ear canal’s shape can make it more difficult for the natural removal of wax.
Best Practices to Safely Clean Your Ears
Firstly, let’s make one thing clear: contrary to popular usage, cotton buds aren’t a good choice to clean your ears from the inside. Visiting your doctor is the best way to get rid of excess wax from your ears. Doctors use special equipment such as forceps, a cerumen spoon, or a suction device to clear up the blockage in your ear. Some doctors also provide the service of irrigation.
If you don’t want to visit a doctor, you can try removing earwax at home by trying out these safe methods.
The problem with cotton swabs is that they push earwax even further in your ear canal, causing various problems. So, you should either use cotton swabs on the outside of your ear, or you should wipe the area using a warm and damp cloth.
You can also soften your earwax for easy extraction by using an earwax softener. Over-the-counter ear drops are available at many pharmacies that work effectively at softening earwax. These drops are basically a solution that may contain the following ingredients.
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baby oil
- Mineral oil
The eardrops come with instructions that specify the number of drops you’re supposed to put in your ear. After putting the drops in your ear, you are supposed to wait for a little while and then rinse and drain out your ear. You must follow the instructions giving on the packaging of the eardrops. Call your doctor in case you don’t experience any improvements.
You can also rinse your ears with a syringe containing saline solution. This will help you gently rinse out your ear canal, clearing it out properly. The syringe method is considered more effective when using a wax softener about half an hour before irrigating. Also, warm the saline solution a bit to avoid dizziness.
Things to Avoid
Here are a few rules you need to follow to ensure the safe cleaning of your ears.
Don’t Clean Your Ears Every Day.
Just because you see a cotton swab lying around doesn’t mean that you need to clean your ears! While most people don’t need to clean their ears every day, some people don’t need to clean them at all.
Earwax usually takes care of itself by trapping dirt and bacteria and moving it out of the ear canal. However, the main concern is that earwax can be quite unsightly, which is why people desperately try to remove every trace of its existence from their ears. Not only does this pose a high risk of infection for your ears, but it is also counterproductive as cleaning your ears leads to increased production of earwax.
Don’t Use Small Items to Clean Your Ears.
It’s been established that the use of cotton swabs isn’t favorable for cleaning your ears, but many people still use them in addition to other small items such as bobby pins and even napkin corners. This can be quite detrimental for your ear as small objects push earwax even deeper inside your ear canal, causing impaction. Moreover, cotton swabs and other sharp objects can potentially injure your eardrum, causing permanent damage to your ear.
Avoid Irrigating Your Ears Under Certain Conditions
While irrigation is a good option for some people to clean up their ears, it isn’t suitable for everyone. You shouldn’t opt for irrigating your ears if you certain conditions such as diabetes, a compromised immune system, a hole in your eardrum, or tubes in your ear. Consult your doctor to see if your eligible for irrigation.
Don’t Use Ear Candles.
Many people also use ear candles to get rid of their earwax. An ear candle is a long, cone-shaped candle inserted into the ear canal and is then fire up to pull out earwax through suction. Ear candles are pretty dangerous as the fire could potentially injure you, or you could end up getting the wax from the candle inside your ear.
When to See Your Doctor
Cleaning your ears recklessly can lead to ear infection with the rapid development of symptoms. If you experience pain or notice draining from your ears, don’t attempt to treat it yourself. The best solution for you is to make an appointment with your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and medication.
Ears are very sensitive organs that require additional care, especially during the cleaning process. Hopefully, this guide will help you get acquainted with the correct and safe way to keep your ears clean.