There is a lot of information surrounding how you should or should not go about cleaning your ears. Some people swear by certain methods; though they probably should not as they are not safe. While other people have no idea what they are doing and are curious as to what to do and how to do it safely. So let’s go over a few facts and myths about ear cleaning.
- Fact: Ears clean themselves. This is true. Crazy, but true. Your ears produce cerumen also known as wax. This production of wax is created to help clean out the ear canals of any foreign objects such as dirt, debris, bugs, hair pieces or anything else that may find its way into your ear canal. The wax works its way up and out of your ear canal taking the foreign objects with it and them sluffs off or flakes off as it gets to the opening.
- Myth: Candling is a good way to clean the ears. Candling is mostly definitely a very dangerous and bad way to go about cleaning your ears. Candling is a very dangerous practice of dripping wax into the ear, allowing it to harden and pull out all the wax buildup and debris. This is dangerous because of the risk of puncturing the eardrum or scraping the ear canal each of which can cause serious damage and the possibility of serious infections in each location that can spread.
- Fact: Some people produce more wax than others. We are all different and our ears are no different. Some people produce more wax just because they produce more wax. While other people produce more wax because of their lifestyle or work environment. Having to wearing hearing protection all the time can cause increased wax production as the ear is trying to get the earplugs out of the ear. This is just the same for those that wear hearing aids. Be sure to clean your hearing protection or hearing aids daily this will help to decrease the risk of infection as well as the introduction of more wax or foreign bodies into the ear.
- Myth: Cotton swabs should be used to clean the ears. This is a huge myth. Cotton swabs, though good for many things, most definitely are not good for cleaning your ears. Why? Simply put they can puncture your eardrum, scrape your ear canal or push the wax further down into your ear canal which could once again puncture the eardrum or cause a hearing loss. Do not stick anything into your ear that is smaller than your elbow; this is a good rule to live by.
- Fact: Seek professional help for wax build-up. If you feel that you have a wax build-up problem seek the help of a medical professional either your family doctor or your hearing health professional. They will be able to look properly and safely into your ears and determine if you have a wax buildup or if there is another problem present. Your medical professional will be able properly and safely clean out your ears if there is a wax buildup and they will also be able to guide you in future prevention of this as well.