How Often Should You Clean Your Ears
Many people dont realize that ear wax actually has a function. Earwax helps keep dust and debris out of your ear. When thinking about how often you should clean your ears it is important to keep in mind that if you are cleaning your ears too much, you will be left with little to no protection.
Earwax also has antiseptic components that help prevent ear infections. The earwax that protects your ear can sometimes build up and result in hearing loss, tinnitus, or earaches. However, the ears are self-cleaning and you should only be going inside of your ear if you have a serious problem, and in that case, you want to see an audiologist.
What you should keep in mind is how often you have your ears checked by a professional, and not how often you should be cleaning your ears. If you have good ear hygiene you should be cleaning the outer ear daily, but the inner ear is usually better to be left alone.
Some people are more prone to ear wax build-up and if you think you have an issue you should see an audiologist. However, if you feel like you just have too much wax in your ear, you need to make sure you are cleaning them out safely.
You Have Any Of These Severe Symptoms
Some symptoms of an impaction are more serious than others and require you to act on them as soon as possible. Besides being irritating, impactions can be potentially dangerous, leading to ear infections and damage to the interior of the ear. If you suffer any pain, fevers, tinnitus, dizziness, or loss of balance, you should make an appointment as soon as possible. Earwax may be important to your hearing health, but if you let an impaction go untreated, it can result in permanent hearing loss as well as permanent damage to the sensitive structures within the ear. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to use cotton buds or any other small objects to clean out the wax, as this can very easily worsen the impaction.
Are There Any Home Ear
Youll find that there are lots of remedies online for cleaning out your ear. These range from the understandable tilting your head to the side in the shower to the ridiculous using a candle to melt the earwax. Many of the home remedies for ear cleaning are dangerous. Even simply putting water inside your ear can cause the water to get trapped and ultimately lead to an infection. This is the main cause of the condition known as swimmers ear. If you think you have this issue, you might notice changes to your hearing.
Ultimately, cleaning your ears the wrong way can lead to damage to your ears as well as permanent or temporary hearing loss. This is an issue that can easily be avoided by only cleaning the outside of your ears.
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How To Not Remove Earwax Buildup
Cotton Swabs: people commonly use cotton swabs to try and remove earwax or dislodge a blockage. However, this can sometimes cause more problems as cotton swabs may push the blockage deeper into the ear canal, risking more damage to the ear, such as an eardrum perforation. Cotton swabs can also scratch your ear canals leading to more irritation.
Ear Candling: This is an ineffective and highly dangerous method that can be counterproductive as wax and debris from the candle can fall into the ear canal. To date, there is no scientific evidence showing its effectiveness.
Avoid using at-home earwax removal kits. Instead, it is recommended that you wipe the outer part of your ear with a cloth daily, and use oil to soften wax, as needed.
Reschedule If You Get Sick
Certain illnesses, such as the common cold, can actually negatively affect the chance of a successful hearing test. This is because it can cause congestion in the head which leads to fluid leaking in the middle ear. It could also affect your eardrum and also your bones, and the hearing test may be uncomfortable if youre sick.
Dont be afraid to reschedule if youre ill because it can drastically affect the results of your hearing test and your audiologist may even refuse to perform the test because it could give incorrect results.
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Professional Ear Cleaning & Ear Wax Removal Services
Cleaning your own ears can result in compact, hardened earwax, any in some cases, even hearing loss. Leave ear cleaning to the professionals at Francis Audiology Associates. Our certified audiologists use an otoscope to examine your ears and then safely remove excess wax using professional tools. Call or book an appointment online to schedule an ear wax removal!
Dont Use Cotton Swabs Inside Of Your Ears
The cotton swab is probably the most popular tool at home for cleaning out ears, but they can be very dangerous. First, they are not designed to actually rid the ear of excess wax, and if wax is built up or impacted, you can actually cause permanent damage to your ear canal and hearing by putting the swab in there. This can be very painful, and in some cases difficult to reverse.
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Your Ear Feels Like It Has A Blockage
You may not be able to see inside your own ear, but you can feel many of the symptoms of a blockage. Some of the most common signs of an earwax buildup include partial or mild hearing loss, a full or clogged sensation in the ear and an itchy or otherwise irritated feeling inside the canal. These can be some of the earliest signs of an impaction. If you make an appointment with the audiologist, they can take a closer look and confirm what the issue is. If they see a building impaction, as you might suspect, then they can clean it safely.
When Is Professional Ear Cleaning Recommended
Audiologists often recommend leaving the ears and allowing them to clean themselves. However, there are instances where professional cleaning may be recommended. Earwax is produced to keep the ears clean and to protect them from debris, dirt and bacteria, but sometimes there is too much wax in the ears. If theres a build-up of wax within the ear canals, this can cause pain and it can affect your ability to hear. If excessive wax is an ongoing issue, or you have symptoms that indicate that the ears are blocked, your audiologist may advise you to have your ears professionally cleaned.
When you have your ears cleaned by a professional, they will use safe, effective techniques to break down and remove hard wax. After cleaning, you should find that your ears feel clearer and any pain you had should dissipate. You might also notice an improvement in your hearing.
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When To See An Audiologist For Ear Cleaning
Have questions for our Audiologists? Read Our FAQ Contact Our Office
Audiologists are used to hearing concerns about earwax. Many people tend to think of it as unpleasant or dangerous, but the truth is that its mostly beneficial. It protects the sensitive interiors of the ear and captures debris and bacteria that can otherwise cause infections. Most of the time, it cleans itself out when you move your mouth and jaw, such as when eating.
However, sometimes, it can build up to cause a blockage, also known as an impaction, which can be uncomfortable, painful and even possibly dangerous. Heres when you should see your audiologist about an ear cleaning.
How To Properly Use Q
Using a Q-Tip to clean out the interior part of your ear is never recommended. In fact, the packaging your cotton swabs may come in will have a warning to keep the product out of your ears. The best way to use a cotton swab for cleaning is to use it on the outer ear to wipe away the wax that has made its way out of the middle ear. You can also use Q-Tips to wipe up residue or water that remains after washing your face, getting out of the shower, or leaving a swimming pool.
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Should You See An Audiologist For Ear Cleaning
People tend to clean their ears by themselves with items they can find at home. This may include little picks, it could include cotton swabs or it might even just be their finger.
The correct way to self-clean your ears is to actually use a bit of warm water and a cloth. Its something you can do in the shower or in the mornings when you wash your ears and its not very complicated. However, it does lead people to think that perhaps theyre not cleaning their ears very effectively, especially since theyre not cleaning the inside of their ear.
Unfortunately, using anything but a professional ear cleaning service from an audiologist could cause damage to your ear. Whether its damaging the sensitive cells inside your ear or harming your eardrum, a lot can go wrong and its best to seek a professional.
In this article, were going to explain a couple of situations where it makes perfect sense to see an audiologist about ear cleaning instead of trying to do it on your own.
How Audiologists Remove Ear Wax
Audiologists generally have two main way of removing ear wax. They prefer to send patients home with an ear wax removal kit, but will do an in-office procedure if needed. Your audiologist will assess the seriousness of the ear wax buildup before deciding what actions to take.
Doctors have what’s called a currette. This may be what your audiologist tries first. A currette is a small device with a scoop at the end that is used to gently scoop the ear wax out of the ear canal. You should never try to stick anything inside of your ear canal at home. That’s why doctors perform this in the doctor’s office only.
Your doctor may also use water to irrigate the ears as well as stronger medicinal solutions to break up the ear wax. These solutions may be stronger than what you would use at home. Sometimes he will try one method first, or a combination of the methods to achieve results.
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Dont Use Ear Candling
Ear candling claims to remove excess earwax from the ears by melting wax and drawing it up out of the ear. While it might look like you have removed it, it is unlikely to improve your condition. The wax from the candle can actually melt and end up inside your ear, which is why so many professionals have found more wax after a client has used this treatment, not less. Whether you do ear candling at home or go to a salon doesn’t make any difference – it is still dangerous and can cause hearing problems, impacted wax, and burns. There are no studies to back up the effects they claim to have.
S To Prepare For Your Hearing Test
Hearing tests are vital for helping your audiologist learn more about your hearing ability. These tests will give your audiologist plenty of information to help them make an informed decision on how to help you restore your hearing. Whether its clearing out a physical problem such as impacted earwax or recommending you a good hearing aid, the first examination is an important milestone.
So if youd like to prepare for your hearing test, weve provided four simple steps that will ensure a pleasant and frustration-free experience.
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How Do I Know I May Have Hearing Loss
There are several signs that indicate you may have hearing loss. Here are some of the common signs of hearing problems and signs of hearing loss:
- You ask people to repeat themselves, especially when they talk in a soft voice.
- You have trouble hearing with noise in the background, such as in a restaurant or a group.
- You struggle with certain types of sounds that seem unusually loud in one ear.
- You experience difficulty having conversations in a noisy environment.
- You generally find it difficult to hear clearly.
- You regularly ask others to turn the TV volume up.
- You experience problems hearing and understanding women and children, particularly.
- You have difficulty hearing over the telephone.
- Do family members or coworkers remark about you missing statements?
- Problems hearing when someone speaks in soft voice or whisper.
- You regularly ask family members or coworkers to repeat themselves.
- Difficulty hearing the radio, TV, or when talking on the phone.
If you experience any of the previously mentioned signs of a hearing problem or hearing loss, dont hesitate to reach out to the team at North Shore Hearing. After you complete a hearing test, your responses will be analyzed by our audiologist to diagnose and treat your hearing loss.
Get Your Ears Cleaned Professionally
If youre unsure of how to safely clean your ears at home, or do not experience any relief through basic irrigation, the best thing you can do is leave ear cleaning to the professionals. Your inner ear is very delicate and may be damaged if you use the wrong tools or methods. Next time you visit your doctor or audiologist, ask about ear wax removal and ear cleaning.
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Use Softening Solutions And Oils
When earwax becomes impacted, it can be difficult to remove. Although going to see your audiologist is a wise option, its also possible to attempt to remove the blockage yourself with the help of solutions or softening oils. Softening oils include mineral oil and baby oil while solutions include commercial earwax removal brands or salt water.
Lie with your head on the side so that the blocked ear is facing the ceiling. Then apply the softening solution, allowing it to dribble down the ear canal. After five to 10 minutes, drain the ear by sitting up, and clean up any excess with a paper towel.
Dont Fall For Gimmicks
Most people dont need complex ear cleaning equipment and in fact, some over-the-counter remedies may damage your ear canal. Another method to avoid is ear candling. It involves placing a hollow tubular candle in your ear and lighting it, supposedly to draw out wax. It doesnt work and is dangerous.
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Blocked Ear Drum And Blocked Hearing Aids
Excessive ear wax and ear wax impaction can result in a blocked ear drum. This can lead to Tinnitus , a feeling of fullness and pressure within your ear or an earache. In severe cases, a buildup of ear wax can result in a perforation of the eardrum.
While ear wax can block your eardrum, resulting in a loss of hearing, it can do the same to your hearing device, resulting in diminished functionality.
A doctor can determine if you have any of these issues by examining your ear with an otoscope, an instrument which allows them to examine the inside of your ear.
You Really Dont Have To Clean Your Ears
If your ears are itchy, feel full, or if your hearing has changed, dont reach for the cotton swab, ear candle or new tool on the market for self-management. And please do not use a pen cap, bobby pin or paper clip! You may be making the problem worse! These previously mentioned complaints are just a few people may experience if they have cerumen, or wax build-up in the ear canals.
Cerumen is the medical term for earwax that develops in the outer 2/3rds region of the ear canals. Cerumen is created by sloughed epithelium, sweat, and sebum, secreted by the sebaceous glands. Cerumen mixes with other substances from the environment as it rests and makes its way out of the ear canal like hair, dirt, debris, or even its original duty, insect repellent. Our bodies are so complex to create a self-cleaning mechanism: jaw movement! Cerumen should naturally escape the ear canals over time by naturally occurring jaw movement from chewing or talking.
Cerumen is harmless, but can over time for some people, accumulate in the ear canal and cause temporary hearing loss, ringing in the ears , itching, fullness, discomfort, or odor. Excess accumulation of cerumen can occur based off ear anatomy, use of hearing devices, or most commonly due to routine ear cleaning.
Types of ear wax your doctor may see on examination:
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Do Practice Good Ear Hygiene
Your ears require very little care when it comes to cleaning because earwax naturally migrates from the ear canal to the outer ear where it dries and flakes. For most people, a simple wipe with a washcloth or tissue a few times a week will remove any earwax thats in the outer ear. Be gentle and dont tug or push too hard on your ear, you may damage the small bones.
If you need to clear earwax from your ear canal, a few drops of mineral oil or baby oil usually does the trick. Put a few drops in one ear, allow it to soak for about five minutes, then, tilt your head to remove the oil. Do the same on the other side, if necessary.
Do Audiologists Treat Ear Infections
Audiologists are experts in the field of hearing, but do they treat ear infections? At North Shore Hearing P.C., one of the most common questions we receive is whether an audiologist can help or treat ear infections.
While we specialize in audiology and treat hearing loss with cutting-edge hearing aids, we do much more. Read on to learn more and reach out to our office for a consultation today.
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