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3 Methods of Ear Cleaning to Avoid

Hand to Ear

You work hard to maintain a healthy body. You eat right (while allowing yourself the odd little indulgence), you exercise regularly, you take your vitamins and you have a rigorous personal hygiene regimen. However, in many cases, our good habits can be bad for us in excess. Wash your hair too often and it will become dry and brittle, starved of the oils it needs to maintain a glossy appearance. The same goes for your skin, too. Wash your face too often and it can become dry, flaky or patchy.

The key, then, lies in cleaning properly as well as cleaning often. There’s no greater example of this than your ears. While we may assume that healthy ears must be pristine and free of wax, earwax is actually important for good health. It has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties. What’s more, when cleaning out our ears, some of us can go about it entirely the wrong way.

Nobody knows your ears like your audiologist

Your ears do a great job of cleaning themselves. However, if you feel like your earwax levels are excessive, or if you notice a loss of hearing or persistent tinnitus, you should see your audiologist. Nobody knows your ears better and they are the best people to entrust to safely clean out your ears without causing damage.

Even the most hygiene conscious readers should avoid using these potentially dangerous cleaning methods.

Cotton swabs

You’ll likely see a box of cotton swabs every bathroom cabinet, but just because they’re ubiquitous does not mean that they are a good idea. Not only are they lousy for the environment, but they can also do way more harm than good to your ears.

They may seem small, but their size relative to your ear canal means that they invariably wind up pushing earwax deeper into your ear canal where it can potentially build up, impact, harden and cause damage. Get too adventurous with a q-tip and you could even run the risk of perforating your eardrum and cause permanent damage to your hearing.

Ear drops

Many are squeamish about inserting anything into their ear canals (something that there’s never a good reason to do, by the way). These people usually prefer ear drops as an alternative to cotton swabs. However, the way in which ear drops work can create way more problems than they solve.

Ear drops don’t just simply “remove” the wax in your ears. Instead, they work by breaking down the wax on contact, reducing its hardness and making it softer so that it can fall out naturally. However, the increased moisture in your ear can make the ear more prone to infection while bacteria on the applicator may exacerbate this risk.

Ear picks

Ear picks are small, hard scoop or spoon-shaped implements, designed to scoop out earwax. While they carry a lower risk of pushing earwax into the ear canal than cotton swabs they can still also be very damaging. Most of us don’t know our way around the delicate workings of our inner ears. Therefore, foraging around in your ear canal with a small hard object can do irreparable damage to your inner ear including potentially perforating your eardrum.

Moreover, these picks can pick up bacteria when not cleaned properly which can introduce infectious elements into your ear.

As you can see, for safe and effective ear cleaning, your audiologist is the only choice!