Ear wax is what lubricates and protects the ear, so it’s something that is essential for our general health and wellbeing. Ear wax is said to have natural antibacterial properties that protects the ear from infections, and you can get dry and itchy ears if you don’t have enough wax. However, ear wax and debris can build up over time, so you might want to remove it. That being said, it’s inadvisable to clean your ears at home. This can cause all kinds of problems that can be impossible to fix.

Avoid cotton swabs

Most people use cotton swabs to clean out their ears, but they don’t do much to remove ear wax at all. They can actually push earwax further into your canal and cause blockages, damage your eardrum, and even cause hearing loss. Using cotton swabs is especially dangerous for wax that is impacted, as it can cause a huge blockage. The only real way to get rid of excess wax if you have it, is to visit an audiologist who will be able to assess and treat you individually.

Avoid ear candling

Ear candling is a popular treatment in salons and alternative therapy clinics, and the candles (according to the manufacturer) are supposed to melt the ear wax and draw it up into the candle as it is burning. However, there’s no scientific proof that ear candling reduces wax inside of the ear canal. You must remember that some wax is actually important – it helps to lubricate the ear, and if the candles do appear to remove a lot of wax, it could cause problems later on.

Some professionals even found an increase in wax inside the ear because of the wax deposited by the candles. Then, there’s the risk of burning yourself. They do not help with your hearing either, as some clinics and salons claim. Ear candling, or hopi candles, can cause significant, permanent damage and are simply not worth the risk. Whether you do it at home or you go to a salon/clinic is irrelevant; these candles are dangerous.

Avoid other DIY methods

There are other methods you may have heard of for cleaning your ears, but they are mostly dangerous. Using any kind of pointy object, pen, or something else that fits in your ear is a sure way to damage your eardrum and cause problems. Rinsing with a syringe can leave you susceptible to swimmer’s ear if you do not dry it properly, and using chemicals and at home cleaners can cause problems, too. Even using seemingly innocent oils to clean your ears can cause issues in the long run. The only thing you can and should really do if you notice wax outside of your ear is use a little tissue on the end of your finger to wipe it away. Other than that, you should visit an audiologist to get rid of your excess wax.

Your ears are self-cleaning, so you do not need to clean them at home. See a professional audiologist to prevent blockages or infections if you need to.