Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.
Ask If You Need To Clean Your Ears At All
Because the ears are a self-cleaning system, its worth asking whether you need to clean them at all. Those who dont spend many hours wearing earplugs, hearing aids or headphones can usually get by with ignoring ear cleanliness and allowing the ears to self-clean. But those who do wear these things may experience a buildup of earwax in the ear canal.
So what should you do? First of all, ask yourself whether your hearing is dull. Dull hearing can be an indication of a buildup of wax. Secondly, dont assume that the presence of earwax means that you need to start cleaning. Only investigate cleaning options if you feel the amount of discharge is excessive.
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 To Properly Clean Ears: Important Tips For Good Hearing
There are many conventional ways to clean ears. Some people prefer to use cotton swabs, while others are avid fans of ear candles. Some people do not prefer to clean their ears at all. But did you know that our ears can clean themselves? Ears dont even need extra cleaning at all. You only need to clean your ears to remove the excess earwax from the outer ear canals. To avoid complications, its essential to know how to properly clean ears. If you have ear problems, it would be wiser to visit an experienced doctor.
How Can You Clean Clogged Ears Yourself
Step 1: Put some lukewarm water into your ear.
Step 2: Chewing movements stimulate the ear to transport the liquid to the outside.
Step 3: Wipe the liquid that runs out after a few minutes from the auricle with a handkerchief.
Step 4: If there is no improvement, use a spray or a rinse solution from the pharmacy to clean your ears.
Step 5: still not better? Please see an ear, nose and throat doctor .
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Ear Drums Are Fragile
The eardrum is easily reached with a swab. Because the eardrum is so delicate, it can be easily ruptured by using even the gentlest pressure when using a swab. Ask anyone who has experienced a punctured eardrumit isnt a pleasant experience. The pain is severe and the ear may also leak a clear fluid. While a punctured eardrum will heal, it can take a while and can even lead to conductive hearing loss.
Safe Ear Cleaning Tips
- Do not clean your ears with bobby pins, twisted napkin corners, or other long pointed objects.
- Do not insert cotton balls into the ear canal. They will merely push the wax deeper into the ear canal, causing a blockage.
- Do not use ear candles. The Food and Drug Administration issued a public warning in 2010 that the use of ear candles can lead to serious injuries.
If you are constantly experiencing excessive amounts of ear wax or a stuffy feeling in your ears, please consult your doctor.
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How To Protect Your Ears
Beyond keeping your ears clean, follow these tips to protect them and ensure good hearing for years to come:
- Dont insert small objects into your ears. You shouldnt put anything smaller than your elbow inside of your ear canal because it can cause injury to your eardrum or wax impaction.
- Limit your exposure to loud noises. Wear protective headgear or earplugs when the noise gets too loud.
- Take periodic breaks from using your headphones, and keep the volume low enough that no one else can hear your music. Dont raise the volume in your cars sound system up too high either.
- Dry out your ears after swimming to prevent swimmers ear. Use a cloth to wipe the outside of the ear, and tilt your head to help remove any additional water.
- Pay attention to any hearing changes that occur with the use of certain medications. If you notice changes, balance issues, or ringing in your ears, contact your doctor.
- See your doctor as soon as possible if you notice sudden pain, a loss of hearing, or if you have an ear injury.
When Should You See A Doctor About Earwax
For those who have heavy wax build-up, a trip to the doctor may be needed. Doctors can easily remove ear wax with a little peroxide mixed with water and injected into the ear. The process is virtually painless and is effective at removing impacted wax. If excess wax become a frequent problem, ask your physician how you can do the procedure yourself at home.
If you are experiencing significant wax build up in your ear canals, or if you think wax could be affecting your hearing, our directory can help you find a hearing clinic near you. A hearing care provider can look inside your ear using an otoscope, assess the situation and determine the best course of action.
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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.
How To Properly Clean Your Ears
2 Minute Read
Cotton swabs condense and impact your ear wax deeper into your ear canal and you may be risking your hearing each time you reach for a swab.
In fact, many do-it-yourself ear-cleaning methods do more harm than good. Although unpleasant, earwax has nothing to do with personal hygiene and the ear canal naturally cleanses itself through your bodys everyday movements.
Visit the UPMC Ear, Nose and Throat website to learn more or call 412-647-2100 to schedule an appointment.
Here are a few simple tips to help you properly clean ears without damaging this delicate sense organ.
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How Do I Clean My Ears Properly
From a medical point of view, the ears usually clean themselves, so that active cleaning is usually not necessary. Nevertheless, people produce different amounts of ear wax, so it happens again and again that a clogged ear impairs hearing performance.
Everypne’s ears work differently. Some ear may produces more, the other less. Not to forget: the secretion is healthy and important. Its function is to remove dirt and bacteria. It arises in the wax glands, medically called glandulae ceruminosae. The glands are located in the anterior ear canal. The glands that secrete it are slightly altered sweat glands.
In general, it consists of more than 1000 substances, not all of which are known by a long way. The cerumen also contains antibacterial agents to make it as difficult as possible for the little intruders. This is another reason to leave enough wax in your ears. Because this can prevent infections such as otitis media. The reason for a clogged ear is an impaired removal of the ear wax. Then only liquid will help to dissolve it.
Can You Clean Earrings With Hand Sanitizer
If anything, people should be cleaning their jewelry more. Think of all that horrid buildup of crud under rings and behind the setting of claw-set earrings. Hand sanitizer kills the baddies then evaporates fastthis shouldnt have any detrimental effects on your gemstones, even materials such as gemstones and pearls.
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Clear Your Eustachian Tubes To Safely Clean Your Ears
Deeper than your outer ear canal are the Eustachian tubes. Its important to clear them as well because when they are clogged, they can cause pain, hearing dampening or distracting popping sensations inside your ear.
Luckily, the recommended methods of clearing them dont take much time or any household resources at all. To clear them, you can simply close your mouth and hold your nose closed, and then gently try to blow out your nose. The pressure will clear the Eustachian tubes!
You can also simply try to yawn. Chewing gum also helps unclog them. Basically, anything that gets your jaw opening and closing can help clear your Eustachian tubes. Youll feel a familiar pop when it happens. That pop means the pressure is equalized, and youre good to go!
Scenario One: You Produce A Normal Amount Of Earwax
How do you know whats normal? Well, if you havent had any problems with your ears, you probably produce just the right amount of earwax. In this case, the most youll need to do is wipe gently around the outside areas of your ears after a shower. Let your ears self-cleaning mechanism do the rest.
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Tips To Clean Your Ears
Its likely youve seen the news articles and website posts regarding cotton swabs and how they should not be used to remove earwax from your ear canal. Thats good advice when it comes to what not to do, but what if you feel as if your ears need a little help now and then? Even though our ears are self-cleaning, sometimes earwax can build up and requires removal. Here are some safe ways to clean your ears.
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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.
Okay How Should I Clean My Ears Then
Doctors say many people generally dont need to clean their ears in the first place. Earwax slowly oozes out of the canal or falls out as more wax is created, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you really want to do something, though, you can gently clean your ears by wiping down your outer ear folds , your earlobes, and the back of your ear using some gentle soap and a washcloth, SELF previously reported. Just avoid going near your outer ear canal.
That said, some people may develop build-up because their ear canals are shaped in a way that inhibits the natural wax removal process. Others may have a lot of ear hair or use hearing aids, both of which can inhibit this process. When earwax does build up, it can make it hard to hear or cause pressure, pain, or ringing in your ear. In this case, its safest to schedule an appointment with a doctor such as a primary care physician. They can take a look and remove excess wax using tools designed to fit the shape of your ear or refer you to an ENT specialist if needed. Its definitely time to rope in a doctor for help if your ears feel really blocked or you notice unusual symptoms, like drainage or persistent pain, Dr. Kozin says.
Bottom line: Its best to avoid sticking anything in your earsQ-tips very much included.
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See A Doctor As Soon As You Notice An Issue
Youre not likely to experience issues with wax buildup, but if you do, be sure to seek professional help. When your ear canal gets blocked, you may feel like you have an earplug in all the time, experience difficulty hearing or feel like your voice is echoing when you talk.
Doctors can help clear out the wax and check for other issues. Lustig noted that what some people suspect to be wax infection can actually be a bigger problem.
Ive had patients come to see me with sudden hearing loss, and when I look in the ear, its clear and theres no problem with the eardrum, he said. It turned out a virus got into the inner ear and caused inner ear damage.
If you ever notice a sudden change in hearing, you should make an appointment with a professional as soon as possible.
There are several things that can arise in the ear with a change in hearing that are worrisome or dangerous, Lustig said. And theres a limited time window to treat it. Some other things that can mimic hearing loss are much more dangerous.
But If You Insist On Doing It Dont Use Q
When you ask people what Q-tips are meant for, their answers will likely include cleaning out earwax. This practice has become so commonplace that Kevin James character in Hitch has a dance move that mimics cleaning out the ears with a Q-tip.
But pop culture fans might also remember that brutal scene from Girls when Hannah inserts a Q-tip too far into her ear and accidentally punctures her eardrum. The packaging for Q-tip products today even contains a clear warning: Do not insert inside the ear canal.
Indeed, cotton swabs like Q-tips can scratch the ear canal and cause bleeding or even lead to ear drum damage. Bottom line: Cleaning out your ears with Q-tips is not a good idea.
Think about diameter of ear canal and diameter of Q-tips, Lustig said. If you cant see what youre doing, you can end up sort of packing all that wax in with a Q-tips. A lot of the time it acts as a plunger. When I have someone come in with an earwax infection, half the time its because they used Q-tips.
In addition to packing the wax deeper and potentially causing it to get trapped in the ear, cleaning out your ears with Q-tips can lead to outer ear infections.
Stripping the wax out of the canal can also leave the skin dry, and dry skin can get itchy, Block added. This leads to a cycle of using cotton swabs to clean out the wax, which makes them itch, so then you scratch with cotton swabs, which makes them itch, etc.
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How To Clean Your Ears Safely At Home
Note: Do not try to clean your ears on your own if you have a hole or a tube in your eardrum. Also, if your symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
Everything in the body has a purpose and earwax is no exception. Earwax is important to the health of the outer ear canal, as it provides protection, lubrication and antibacterial properties.
Your ears produce earwax constantly, so that there is the right amount in your ear canals. However, sometimes wax can accumulate excessively, resulting in a blocked ear canal.
When earwax or gunk builds up in your ears, they can feel plugged up and it may even affect your hearing.
Other symptoms are aching in the affected ear, fullness or ringing in the ear, an unpleasant odor coming from the ear, dizziness and even a cough. Excess buildup dirt, bacteria, and other debris in the ear can increase the risk of infection, which can cause pain in the middle ear, fluid drainage and impaired hearing.
People who use hearing aids or ear plugs as well as older people and people with developmental disabilities are more likely to develop excess earwax.
Usually, earwax works its way out of the ear naturally through chewing and other jaw motions, but you need to safely remove earwax from the outer ear.
Here are the top 10 ways to clean your ears safely at home.