Use A Saline Solution
Sometimes a little bit of salinity in the water helps to remove earwax. Its best to make your own solution instead of the bottled saline. Completely dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a half-cup of warm water. Soak a cotton ball in the saline solution, tilt your head and then use the saturated cotton to drip the salt water into your ear. Allow the water to stay in your ear for a few minutes, then tilt in the opposite direction to drain out the saline. Do this for each ear.
Advice On Using Ear Candles
The intention of ear candling is that it creates a negative pressure by burning one end of a hollow candle to draw the earwax out of the ear canal. However, there is very little evidence around to suggest that ear candling is a good or safe method of removing earwax. In fact, the risk of injury from having an open flame or hot wax so close to your face is enough to avoid it.
Our advice is to steer clear of ear candling and seek advice from your pharmacist or audiologist.
Video Guide: How To Clean Your Dogs Ears
In addition to reading about it, many people will benefit from watching a helpful instructional video on how to clean your dogs ears. Therefore we have provided the best we could find below.
You can read through this article then come back and watch this video or vice versa But we recommend you do both to get the most complete advice.
This video from VetVid is easy to follow and since it features instructions from veterinarians, it cuts out the need to have your pets vet show you how to complete an ear cleaning.
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Why Some Puppies Get Dirty Ears
Whether or not puppies need their ears cleaning and how often they should be cleaned will depend a great deal on what shape they are!
Your dogs ancient ancestors were wolves.
Wolves have pointed ears, well designed by natural selection to do a great job of helping them to work in their environment.
However, modern dogs, removed from the powerful forces of nature, have been bred with a wide variety of ear shapes, sizes and positions.
As a result, some breeds ears require a lot more attention than our ancestors could ever have imagined.
Your puppys ear type
If your puppy is from a breed that has the traditional wolfish look, with pointed erect ears and clear open ear canals, you will probably rarely need to give them any extra care.
However, if your puppys ears are covered with a soft flap, as many of our breeds are today, they are more likely to trap dirt and grim than upright ears.
Your puppys ear hair
Drooping ears often come with pretty long coats attached.
Long hair can look beautiful on dogs ears. Curly coats and wooly manes can give a very characteristic and eye-catching look. But they also trap dirt and daily grime near to your dogs ear canal.
Sadly, some dogs are also afflicted with hairy ear canals! These tiny hairs can cause great discomfort in affected dogs, and often require veterinary treatment.
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.
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What Not To Do
- No object smaller than a finger should be inserted.
- Under no circumstances should candles be used to clean the ears, or drops, or any other type of saline solution.
- Dont ignore or underestimate any symptoms or any discomfort that your child presents. Its preferable to go to a specialists office early for an evaluation and early diagnosis than to wait for the lesions to worsen before starting treatment.
In conclusion, excessively cleaning the ears, both of children and of any person, is counterproductive because it leaves the way completely free for insects, germs, and other agents to the interior of the ear canal. Its important to maintain a balance when it comes to hygiene and, when in doubt, consult your doctor.
Dont Use Cotton Swabs Inside Your Ears
You should never insert any object into your ear canal, especially a cotton swab. While many people believe these are designed to clean inside your ears, they actually do more damage than good. Cleaning your ear canal with a cotton swab can cause earwax impaction, a perforated eardrum or a dry, irritated ear canal.
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How To Clean Your Ears
The outer ear, also known as the pinna, benefits from a good cleaning every now and then. This can be accomplished with a little soap, water and a washcloth while you shower. Be gentle.
In most cases, the ear canal does not need to be cleaned. During hair washing or showers, enough water enters the ear canal to loosen the wax that has accumulated. Additionally, the skin in your ear canal naturally grows in an outward, spiral pattern. As it sloughs off, ear wax goes with it. Most of the time the wax will loosen and fall out on its own while you are asleep. The need for a cotton swab isnt necessary.
Symptoms Of Earwax Blockage
When earwax builds up in the ear, a person may experience some minor hearing loss and irritation in the ear.
People can also experience a sensation of fullness in the ear. In some cases, this may occur alongside an earache.
A person should see their doctor if they are experiencing an earwax blockage and do not feel comfortable using an at-home cleaning solution.
A person should also see their doctor if they have signs of an ear infection, such as:
- pain in or around the ear
- fluid draining from the ear
- difficulty hearing
In addition to acute infections, a person should consult their doctor if they experience repeated blockages. The doctor can discuss ways to try to prevent this from happening. A person can schedule regular cleanings with their doctor to help keep their ears clean and free of any blockages.
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What Is A Reflex
A reflex is an often automatic reaction to a certain kind of stimulus. In terms of the human body, reflexes are actions that are thought to occur without the involvement of the brain and conscious thought.
The most common reflex that people are familiar with is the patellar reflex. When you go to the doctor for a routine checkup, the physician will likely have you seated with your leg dangling and strike your knee with a special instrument known as a reflex hammer. When the knee is struck, the lower leg will kick out all on its own.
There are a number of different reflexes in the human body. Some have important uses in diagnostic tests to ensure proper neurological functioning. Read on for a closer look at some unique reflexes in the body, including the one that causes you to cough when you place something in your ear.
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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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.
Should You Clean Your Ears At Home
If you would like to schedule an appointment or have questions about our services, you can or if you prefer, call us at .
Ear wax is what lubricates and protects the ear, so its something that is essential for our general health and wellbeing. Ear wax is said to have natural antibacterial properties that protects the ear from infections, and you can get dry and itchy ears if you dont have enough wax. However, ear wax and debris can build up over time, so you might want to remove it. That being said, its inadvisable to clean your ears at home. This can cause all kinds of problems that can be impossible to fix.
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Is The Inner Ear Dirty
If it is, dampen a cotton ball using canine ear cleaning solution and use this to clean the ears. If you dont have a specific ear solution on hand, you can also use mineral oil or witch hazel.
Keep in mind that the inner ear is especially delicate so you should ideally have your vet show you the proper way to clean this area. Alternatively, you can watch a video, like the one mentioned above.
Consult Your Audiologist If You Have Recurring Blockages
Audiologists at Peninsula Hearing understand that certain people are at higher risk of developing earwax problems than others, especially those who wear hearing aids. If you find that youre suffering from an excess of earwax talk to one of our specialists about strategies to prevent this. You can contact our friendly audiologists by calling our Poulsbo office at or for Port Townsend.
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Is There Specialised Advice For People Who Wear Hearing Aids
Earwax can sometimes prevent hearing aids working to their full potential, so regular cleaning and maintenance is important to keep up with a yearly appointment is also a good idea. If you feel your hearing has changed or you have any of the symptoms of impacted earwax, you should get in touch with your audiologist for a check-up.
Signs You Need Professional Ear Cleaning
Many of us dont have to worry about ear cleaning. The ears are incredibly impressive organs, which not only enable us to hear, but also boast an efficient self-cleaning system. In the vast majority of cases, the ears will clean themselves without any problems. However, sometimes, there is a risk of wax buildup, and if you spot signs of excessive earwax, you may benefit from professional ear cleaning. Here are four signs that you might need to visit a hearing health professional.
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Dos And Donts For Cleaning Ears
With all that being said, sometimes you do feel the need to clean your ears because of some buildup. So heres a short guide on what you should and should not do when that need arises.
- Use hydrogen peroxide. It may seem like hydrogen peroxide is a popular way for some people to clean their ears, but it could actually make your problem a lot worse if you find that the earwax buildup is due to something else.
- Use ear candles. Some people recommend ear candles for cleaning earwax, but theyre actually not all that effective and might cause more harm than good. Even the FDA has warned against ear candling because you could end up burned or causing severe damage to your ears.
- Use q-tips or cotton swabs deep in your ears. You may use a q-tip if necessary, but you should only use it in the immediate outside of your ear. Do not stick the cotton swab deep into the ear canal, as you could potentially push the earwax inside and cause injury and impaction.
- Use a damp cloth. It is recommended that you use a damp cloth to clean the outside of your ears, but make sure you dont go deep in your ears.
- Use a type of earwax softener. You can also use a couple of drops of mineral oil, glycerin, baby oil, or an over-the-counter kit that will help to soften the earwax inside your ears.
- Use a syringe. It can be effective to use a syringe, which will be effective if you use a softener beforehand. You can then either use a saline solution or water to irrigate the ears.
Complications Of Ear Cleaning
Putting anything in your ear yourself poses the risk of damaging the eardrum or the delicate skin in the ear canal. You could also push the earwax further into your ear, ultimately making the build-up worse. Its best to leave it to a professional who has a good view inside your ear and knows what to do.
The golden rule is to never put anything into your ear that is smaller than your elbow that includes things like cotton buds or hairpins that could damage or perforate your eardrum.
You may have had ear irrigation from your doctor before, but you should never do this yourself. In fact, evidence suggests that cleaning earwax with water, even professionally, has a risk of causing an ear infection, which requires further treatment.
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What Should You Know About Proper Ear Care
The ears are the most visible part of the human hearing system. Taking care of your ears is important in many ways. Cleaning is one step, while preventing and treating infections is another. Ear care also include taking steps to avoid unnecessary noise and watching for possible hearing loss. You should call your healthcare provider if youre worried about any of these issues.
You Get Impacted Earwax Far Too Regularly
Most people dont get impacted earwax if they take good care of their ears. However, once you start to neglect cleaning your ears properly, youll start to experience impacted earwax on a far more frequent basis. This can be incredibly frustrating especially as you grow older. The older we are, the harder it becomes for our bodies to automatically eject earwax out far enough that it naturally falls away. A professional audiologist will clean your ears all the way the way through to ensure that your ear stays healthy while also preventing your ears from building up more wax in the future.
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Dog Breeds With Ears That May Need Cleaning
Typical breeds that will need some extra attention paid to their ears are those with long drooping floppy ears. Such as Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, and Bassett Hounds.
But dogs with shorter ears that are covered by flaps may need cleaning too.
Breeds such as Labradors and other Retriever breeds, Pointers and Setters, and many of our Hounds, will benefit from regular ear checks, and may benefit from a gentle once weekly natural clean as described below.
Regular Puppy Ear Checks What To Look For
When you look inside your puppys ears, you are looking to check that they are healthy and free from problems.
Common ear problems that you may spot with a simple weekly inspection are
- A build up of dark wax
- Redness or soreness
- Smelly ears
Any of these may indicate that your puppy has a problem, such as an infection.
Healthy ears look pink not red or sore, and your puppys ears should not smell of anything.
the cotton wool pads you use for babies or make up are fine
If you can see redness or detect an unpleasant smell, or if your puppy is shaking his head or poking at his ears, then take him to your vet. Dont try and treat the problem yourself.
If all you can see is a little grubby ear wax, then you can give your puppys ears a gentle clean at home.
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