Is It Ok To Put Vaseline In Your Ears
In harsh climates, both hot and cold, petroleum jelly can help soothe and moisturize dry ears. Preparations containing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar are not usually helpful for dry ears but may help relieve itchy ears. It is best not to use cotton swabs for cleaning because they tend to over-clean the ear.
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Ask A Doctor: How Can You Safely Clean Your Ears In A Post Q
Cathy Thackrey, Au.D., CCC-A
Medical professionals are known for their advice and most of it doesnt involve Q-tips. But as an Audiologist, the best and most universal advice I give is this: Do everything you can to protect your hearing.
With many types of hearing loss, theres no going back once the damage is done. And one of the easiest ways to cause damage to your ears is through casual at-home cleaning.
Perhaps you grew up learning how to clean your ears with cotton swabs, hairpins, or even other small gadgets. But did you realize that each of these items has the potential to scratch the ear canal or cause it to bleed? These little devices can even shove wax further into the ear, occluding it up against the eardrum potentially perforating the eardrum. Yikes! Who knew a Q-tip could do so much damage?
If Q-tips and other ear cleaning tools are so dangerous, how are you supposed to clean your ears? And how often are you supposed to clean your ears? Is there even a right way to do this yourself?
Heres what we recommend:
Do Wax Guards Really Work
Smoke and heat soften hardened earwax, allowing your body to excrete it naturally. This claim is much more viable since studies show that the wax collected at the bottom of the candle is not earwax. ear but candle wax. Moreover, it turns out that the ear candle is a legitimate traditional practice.
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Tips For Cleaning Your Ears
Do clean your ears on a regular basis. Make sure to wipe the outside of your ears with a warm, damp cloth daily.
Do check for earwax build up by gently swiping the inside of your outer ear with a damp cloth. If you wear hearing aids, you might notice a build up of earwax on the devices. If the build up is exceptionally bad, a hearing aid wearer might notice intermittent sound or static coming from the devices. This can be caused by a dislodged fitting of the hearing aid.
Do attempt to get rid of excess earwax at home with an over-the-counter earwax removal kit. These softening drops are put into the ears, while holding to the head to the side, and then allowed to drain out after five minutes. Sitting up will let the drops drain out naturally. To rid the ear of any excess fluid, a bulb-type syringe, usually included in the kits, may be used to gently flush the ear with warm water.
Are You Supposed To Push Back Your Cuticles
If youre hoping to make your nails look longer, you can gently push back your cuticles with an orange wooden stick instead. Cuticles dont want to be cut, Toombs says. Theyre supposed to be soft, and cutting can make them hard, more prone to fracturing. If you cut it, it has an increased tendency to separate.
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The Strange Life Of Q
Years ago, my mother complained about a terrible earache. The pain was unbearable. And it wouldn’t go away for a week, she walked around with a debilitating ringing in her head.
Eventually, she recalled to me the other day, the discomfort led her to a doctor, who carefully pushed an otoscope into her ear. Within seconds, he pulled it out and looked her in the face.
“Have you been putting Q-tips in your ears?” he asked with a disapproving tone.
Like so many others, my mother had been using Q-tips to clean her ears. But in doing so she was also messing with a natural process. Her ear was hurting because she had an ear infection, and there’s a decent chance her routinely using Q-tips had helped cause it.
“Promise me something,” the doctor told her. “Promise me you’ll never put another Q-tip inside of your ear.”
Q-tips are one of the most perplexing things for sale in America. Plenty of consumer products are widely used in ways other than their core function books for leveling tables, newspapers for keeping fires aflame, seltzer for removing stains, coffee tables for resting legs but these cotton swabs are distinct. Q-tips are one of the only, if not the only, major consumer products whose main purpose is precisely the one the manufacturer explicitly warns against.
“People say they only use them to put makeup on, but we know what else they’re using them for,” he added. “They’re putting them inside their ears.”
No one told us not to
Q-tips are here to stay
There Are More Than A Few Things To Avoid When Cleaning Your Ears
The overarching rule here is to leave your ears alone except for the gentlest cleaning of the exterior parts, but the list below goes into specifics about the things you should avoid. TL DR? Dont stick anything in your ear without consulting your provider first.
Did you know that cotton swab packages often have a warning that explicitly tells you not to use them in your ears? Using them to remove earwax actually pushes wax farther into your ear, the Mayo Clinic explains. Additionally, cotton can cause tiny cuts or microabrasions in your ear, which can increase your chances of getting an ear infection, Dr. Voigt says. This is actually the opposite of what youre looking for when you set out to remove wax from your ears.
So what should you do with all those cotton swabs? A cotton swab can be used to go into the little folds of the ears, Dr. Voigt says. People also use those cotton tip applicators to apply makeup or to clean other areas of their face. But they should not be stuck into . This rule doesnt just apply to cotton swabs: Many experts say you shouldnt put anything smaller than an elbow into your ears. Yes, you read that right: an elbow.
Contact Oliveira Audiology & Hearing Center For Safe Earwax Removal
If you are dealing with frustrating wax buildup, Oliveira Audiology & Hearing Center can help. We offer earwax removal and management services, performed by a licensed Doctor of Audiology to ensure patients health and safety. A simple and quick procedure can ease discomfort, remove the blockage, and even improve hearing for many patients, without the risk associated with at-home remedies and improper tools. If a referral to a medical physician is needed, our Audiologists will provide the patient with the necessary resources.
Switch Your Cotton Swabs For The Lastswab
LastObjects revolutionary LastSwab is the future of cleaning ears without q tips. If you love the feeling of cleaning your ears with normal q tips, transition to the LastSwab for all the same benefits with none of the damage to the environment and marine life.
Made from quality renewable materials, the LastSwab is reusable over 1,000 times. You can easily clean it with a bit of soap and water and itll be ready for the next use. This zero waste product is making a huge difference in the fight against single-use plastic pollution.
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Never Use Ear Candling
Ear candling might sound like a good idea in theory, but it doesnt work in practice and can lead to severe damage to the ears. Ear candling is the practice of inserting a hollow candle into the ear in the hope of creating a vacuum that dislodges any stubborn wax.
As you can imagine, gimmicks like this are not only ineffective at removing blockages but can also cause burns to the surrounding tissue.
How To Clean Your Ears Safely: Get Rid Of Earwax Without Q
Don’t risk ear infections by using q-tips or buds here’s how to clean your ears safely and effectively. Listen up
Picture the scene: you’ve just had a fantastic workout. The tunes from your workout earbuds have been thudding in your ears. But then, upon removal, you notice a faint waxy build-up around the in-ear fit. Gross, especially on top-quality earbuds like the ones in our best workout earbuds and best running headphones guides. Cleaning your ears out every so often might even improve the sound quality.
When we notice a bit of waxy build-up, most of us reach for the q-tips or cotton buds, even though we know we shouldn’t. Cotton buds in our ears feel great because there’s so many sensitive nerve endings that don’t often get touched, and it’s satisfying to see a dirty cotton bud once we scrape our ears clean.
However, cotton buds can potentially be extremely harmful to our ear canals. One study, published in the British Journal of General Practice , found this led to “well documented complications including trauma, impacted ear wax, infection, and retention of the cotton buds”.
But despite lots of manufacturers’ warnings against it, cotton buds are still being used to clean out our ears. During the study, 144 female and 95 male adults in the UK were polled about their cotton bud usage. A hefty 68% of respondents admitted using cotton buds in their ears, with 76% of those using them at least weekly, if not even more frequently.
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When To See A Doctor
If you think youve pushed earwax way back into your ear canal and a hot shower or ear drops dont help, you may want to have a physician assess your ear. If necessary, they may prescribe stronger eardrops, ear irrigation, or they may remove the wax in their office.
The best way to prevent earwax impaction is to let nature deal with your earwax. Avoid using Q-tips inside the ear canal, but feel free to gently clean the outer portion of your ears. Just remember to leave the ear canal cleaning to nature and if necessary a physician. Because when it comes to something as delicate and vital as your hearing, its best to leave the wax removal to the professionals!
Use Gentle Methods To Clean The Inner Ear
Theres nothing wrong with cleaning your outer ear with a damp washcloth or cotton swab. But the inner ear is a lot more sensitive and prone to damage, so it shouldnt be avoided unless a blockage presents. Using cotton buds inside the ear canal puts you at risk of damaging the delicate eardrum, causing a painful rupture.
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How Do I Clean My Earrings
Here is a little tutorial to clean your earrings without damaging them.
Warm Water And A Washcloth
For most people, this simple method removes all excess earwax. Our ears are actually self-cleaning. Earwax migrates from the eardrum to the outer ear, taking dirt and debris with it. When you try to stick something inside the ear canal, youre actually pushing earwax back toward your eardrum, possibly creating a problem. Thats why its best to let nature do its thing and allow your earwax to move out to the outer ear. Take a wet washcloth and wipe the wax from your outer ear. If you need a little more help to move the earwax, you can tip your head to one side and squeeze warm water from the washcloth into your ear canal. Let it sit for a while, then tilt your head in the opposite direction. Do this for both ears.
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Does Earwax Have A Purpose
Made by the body to keep ears clean and free from bacteria, earwax is part of the bodys defense system. Earwax doesnt come from deep inside the ear, though it might seem like it does. The glands in the outer half of the ear canal secrete wax, keeping debris and foreign microbes out. Typically, our jaw movements, like chewing and swallowing, move old earwax outwards toward the opening of the canal. Once the wax reaches the outer areas of the ear, it dries out and flakes away.
Although it might look icky, earwax also known as cerumen isnt harmful. Earwax lubricates the ear and keeps it healthy. But as with many things, however, too much of a good thing can have bad consequences, like earwax impaction.
Things To Avoid When Cleaning Your Ears
Dont insert Q-Tips or cotton swabs into your ears. Doing so poses the risk of pushing wax deeper into the ear canal, worsening any hearing issues. It also puts you at risk of rupturing an ear canal or drum.
Dont attempt to ear candle if you have a build up of earwax. Doctors recommend against ear candling, a method in which a hollow cone made of beeswax and paraffin with cloth on a tapered end. The cloth is placed into the ear. A second person lights the wax end, holding your hair to avoid the flame. The theory goes that a vacuum is created as the flame burns, drawing the wax from the ear. However, limited clinical trials prove otherwise.
Dont hesitate to call your hearing healthcare professional if you are maintaining proper ear hygiene but are having issues with excess earwax buildup. While some amount of earwax is normal and healthy, too much can cause or accentuate hearing loss.
Our auditory system is an amazing part of our bodies. While cleaning your ears may feel like a necessary task, daily maintenance is certainly not required.
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This Is What Your Doctor Will Do To Clean Your Ears Safely
If you think you have an earwax blockage, Dr. Voigt suggests going to an ear, nose, and throat doctor if you can, although a general practitioner can be a great place to start if youre having trouble finding a specialist.
When you visit your doctor, they will examine your ears by using an otoscope, an instrument that lights and magnifies the inside of your ear, the Mayo Clinic says. If your doctor determines that you do have an earwax blockage, theyll remove the wax with an instrument called a curette, or they might first use an earwax softener followed by gentle suction, the Merck Manual explains. There are often pretty dramatic, immediate results, Dr. Voigt says. You might have immediate relief of the pressure, he explains. can hear incredibly well.
In most cases, the entire procedure can be done in a few minutes. Your ears will be clog-free, but Dr. Voigt says to be careful. Since earwax is your friend, youll need to be cautious now that the vast majority of the wax in your ear is gone. For instance, Dr. Voigt warns against getting water in your ear for a few days while your body builds up new wax. He also recommends turning down the volume on your car stereo, TV, phone speaker, earbuds, and any similar devices. People often turn the volume way up to compensate for their wax-induced diminished hearing, he says. Once your blockage is removed, you can probably tone things down a bit.
Why You Should Never Use Q
When you place a Q-Tip in your ear, youll actually be doing far more harm than good. The cotton swab typically pushes the wax further into the ear, towards the eardrum. There, it will harden and become stuck, eventually accumulating along the entire length of the ear canal. Serious obstructions also referred to as impactions, can cause discomfort and even impact your hearing. With about half of the population dealing with earwax impactions, its safe to say that the popular Q-Tip cleaning method isnt doing anybody any favors.
Additionally, its easy to accidentally cause injury when using a Q-Tip. Because your ear canal and eardrum are highly delicate, even the seemingly soft end of a cotton swab can be risky. Common injuries caused by Q-Tips include punctured eardrums and bleeding ear canals, both of which can be very painful and may cause permanent hearing loss.
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What You Should Avoid
Its unnecessary to clean the ears all the time. As stated, our ears can take care of themselves. The use of different items such as cotton swabs and bobby pins will only push the wax to the inner parts of the ear canal, making it particularly difficult to reach. When the earwax buildup occurs in the deeper ear canal, cerumen impaction might take place.
Doctors are firm in prohibiting tiny objects inside the ears. This means that putting a sharp object, cotton swab, or things that might damage the eardrum is a big no-no. Doing so can affect your hearing, or worse, lead to total loss of hearing.
Ear irrigation should not be performed if you have:
- a hole in your eardrum
- tubes in the ear
- weak immune system
On the other note, ear candles are also not recommended. Apart from the fact that it is a very unsafe method, you might end up having more wax inside your ear from the candle. Plus, ear candles use fire to suck the wax, and if not handled properly, the fire can cause injury.
Better For The Environment
Cotton buds are not only bad for your ears they are disastrous for the environment. Plastic cotton buds flushed down the toilet find their way through the filter and into the sewage systems, polluting our beaches and destroying marine life. Paper stem cotton buds are the perfect replacement for plastic ones, but you still shouldnt use them for cleaning your ears. Our Ear Cleaners are dishwasher safe and have been designed to be washed and reused many times before they need replacing, helping to reduce the amount of use-once and thrown away plastics in landfills or our oceans.
Leave the cotton buds for what they are meant for, applying make-up and cleaning babies toes. Instead, choose Safe and Sound Healths Reusable Ear Cleaners for cleaning your ears. Your ears and the environment will thank you for it.
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