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How to clean your ears

What to do and what to avoid to keep your ears in perfect health…

Contrary to popular wisdom, you don’t need to clean wax from your ears, unless you are producing too much.  Ear wax, or cerumen, helps to lubricate your ears, and has important antibacterial properties that help guard against infection.  It also acts like a filter, trapping dust and other particles, and preventing them from entering your ear canal.

Your ears are self-cleaning, and old earwax is expelled gradually as you move your jaw. As ear wax is produced in the outer ear canal, it’s rare to experience a deep ear wax blockage that presses up against your ear drum.  The only reason you’d experience this, is if you pushed wax deep into your ear.  This can happen if you use sharp objects or cotton buds to remove wax from inside of your ears. In this instance, you should get expert help and professional microsuction ear wax removal.

Sometimes though, you just might not be expelling enough ear wax, perhaps because of an ear infection or wax impaction.  This can cause earwax to completely fill your ear canal and can cause you to experience a build-up, which can produce a few unpleasant symptoms.

Here are the Top 6 signs you might have a serious wax build up in your ears:

·   You have discharge coming out of your ears which may also smell bad…

·   You’re feeling pain, pressure, or a sensation of fullness in your ears…

·   Your ears feel as though they are stuffed up or blocked…

·   You are experiencing partial hearing loss which is worsening over time…

·   You regularly experience ringing (tinnitus) in your ears…

·   You’re experiencing unpleasant itching …

What to do if you have excess wax in your ears

If you are experiencing symptoms of an ear wax build up, bear in mind it may be due to other causes, so you should always consult your doctor or an ear specialist.  They will be able to examine your ears to see if there is too much wax, and if this is the case, they’ll be able to perform ear wax removal using suction, irrigation, or special tools.

If your ear wax problem isn’t severe, you might want to try treating it yourself at home first.  You can soften up the wax by placing a few drops of olive oil, (or wax softening drops from the pharmacy) in your ears, or you can use over the counter ear drops purchased from a pharmacy.

If you want to remove excess wax from the outside of your ears, use a cotton bud to carefully clean them, or just use a warm, damp washcloth. 

What should you NEVER do to remove excessive ear wax?

Don’t be tempted to stick cotton buds or anything else inside your ears to try and remove the wax.  This can cause serious damage, or infection, and you can even puncture your ear drum or suffer major hearing loss.  It’s also not a good idea to abrasive substances, like hydrogen peroxide, to clean your ears, as this can worsen the problem.

What about ear candles?

You might have seen these long waxy sticks and thought that they seemed like a good idea.  While some people do claim to find them helpful, they’re not recommended by medical experts, as they can cause bad burns.   If not inserted properly, they can even pierce or rupture your ear!

In general, you shouldn’t need to remove your ear wax as the ear has a very efficient mechanism in place that ensures it is effectively expelled. However, if you start to experience any of the symptoms of excess wax, see a specialist, who will advise you on the best course of action to take.

Fresh Hearing Ltd.