If you experience a feeling of your ears being plugged, they itch or your hearing has become muffled, these can be signs of wax build up in the canal. It is perfectly fine to follow a few simple ear cleaning tips at home, as long as you aren’t experiencing other symptoms such as pain, earache or dizziness.
However, how you clean your ears and what you use is important. Using incorrect methods or tools can result in more damage than good.
Clean your ears post shower
First, understand that for most individuals, a full-blown cleaning isn’t always necessary because the ear is largely self-cleaning. It’s only when your ear produces too much or particularly dry wax, that it’s best to give nature a helping hand.
For those with normal earwax production, simply wipe around the exit of the ear canal with a clean damp cloth, after your shower. The warmth and humidity of the bathroom help to soften the earwax and help ease it up to the surface.
Since you aren’t putting anything into the ear canal, you can do this as often as you shower.
Ear cleaning solutions
For those with excessive earwax or if you previously used cotton swabs (which typically push wax deeper into the ear), then an effective cleaning solution may be the best option. However, before using any kind of over-the-counter solution, it’s best to consult your audiologist to ensure you’re using a safe and correct treatment.
At-home ear cleaning solutions are usually comprised of a few drops of mineral oil, saline solution or glycerine. These are then placed into the ear canal while the head is tipped to one side.
Drops are generally placed into the uppermost part of the ear, perhaps with your head resting on a cushion while you watch TV. Leave the drops for a few minutes, so they get a chance to soften the earwax and make it more mobile. Then, tip your head in the opposite direction so the liquid drains out and wipe away any excess with a clean cloth. Repeat for the other ear.
How often should you clean your ears?
For most people who produce a normal amount of earwax, ear cleaning doesn’t need to be extensive. Simply wiping out your ears after a shower with a cloth should pick up most of the stray earwax your body has pushed out.
However, if you feel like you produce too much wax or are experiencing symptoms of earwax impaction, don’t hesitate to speak to your audiologist. You audiologist will be able to examine your ears and provide you with a cleaning if necessary, or some simple tips and tricks to keep your ears healthy at home.