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Do’s and Do Not’s of Ear Cleaning

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Hand to Ear

Most of us are guilty of trying to use do-it-yourself ear cleaning methods. The trouble is that, often, we use the wrong techniques. If you don’t clean your ears properly, you run the risk of causing damage to your eardrum and potentially, making the situation worse. If you’re looking for some top ear cleaning tips, here are some do’s and don’ts to bear in mind.

DO

Clean your ears only when necessary

The ears actually have a self-cleaning mechanism, and they don’t need to be cleaned every day. The aim of self-cleaning is to bring excess earwax to the surface. If you spot wax in the opening of your ear, you can simply wipe it away using a damp cloth. Most people don’t need to clean their ears on a regular basis. If you wear hearing aids, or you’re prone to wax buildup, you may need to clean your ears more frequently, and your audiologist can help you when it comes to choosing safe, effective techniques.

Clean your ears gently

Your ears are very delicate, and they contain a complex network of fragile components. When you’re cleaning your ears, be very gentle. If you’re trying to irrigate the ears, for example, using intensive jets of water can damage the eardrum.

Soften wax using oil-based drops

If you think you may have a wax buildup, you can attempt to soften the wax using oil-based drops. This should bring softer wax to the surface, which you can wipe away with a cloth.

Ask for advice

If you have any questions about ear cleaning, you’re not sure how to keep your ears clean when you have hearing aids, or you’re worried about having too much wax in your ears, don’t hesitate to ask for advice. Your audiologist will be able to give you advice about ear cleaning at home, and they can also employ effective techniques to remove stubborn wax deposits.

DON’T

Use cotton swabs

Cotton swabs seemed to have earned a reputation as an effective wax-buster, but inserting objects into your ear canal can actually be incredibly harmful. Using a cotton swab can push wax further down the ear canal, and this may cause the wax to become hard. You may also find that if you push the swab too far down, you damage your eardrums.

Fall for fads

If you read newspapers or magazines, you may have come across trendy treatments, such as ear candles. The trouble with these fads is that there is often a lack of evidence when it comes to their efficacy. Ear candles don’t remove wax effectively, and they also carry a risk of burning the ear canal and causing damage to the eardrum.

Your ears have a very clever self-cleaning system, but sometimes, problems can arise, most commonly due to a buildup of wax. There are ways of trying to prevent excessive wax production and to keep the ears clean, but there are also techniques that can do more harm than good. The best thing to do if you are uncertain about ear cleaning is to contact your audiologist for advice.