Earwax is an important, yet sometimes annoying part of our health. Also known as cerumen, earwax is made in the ear canal and is extremely important in protecting our ear from dust, bacteria, foreign matter, and microorganisms.
In theory, over time, earwax is supposed to naturally work its way out to the ear opening, but for many of us, a build-up of earwax is just another part of life. Since excess earwax can make it difficult to hear or become unsightly, earwax removal might be part of your regular routine. However, while there are many ways to remove earwax, there are quite a bit of misinformation out there about how to do so correctly. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of removing excess earwax:
Do’s Of Earwax Removal
Do realize that earwax is a normal and important part of a healthy body. While we may think earwax is gross or unsightly, it is necessary for healthy ear functioning. Unless earwax is blocking your ear canals or disrupting your hearing ability, it can probably be left as it is.
Do understand the signs and symptoms of excessive earwax build-up. Although these can vary from person to person, earwax build-up often causes a decrease in hearing ability, ringing in the ears, a sensation of ear “fullness,” and even difficulties with using a hearing aid.
Do promptly seek out professional medical care if you’re having any changes in your hearing, difficulty hearing, ringing in the ears, ear pain, or a feeling of fullness in your ears. Since may other conditions, such as ear infections, also share these symptoms, a hearing healthcare professional can determine whether earwax is actually at the root of your problems.
Do get advice from your hearing healthcare professional before attempting any at-home remedies for removing excess earwax. While there are some do-it-yourself treatments for earwax removal, many commonly used remedies can actually be harmful to your hearing health. Plus, some home-remedies can have adverse effects in people with certain medical conditions. A hearing healthcare professional can help guide you toward appropriate earwax removal techniques or even remove an earwax build-up for you.
Do keep your hearing aids clean. Certain hearing styles and molds can increase your risk for earwax build-up, so keeping your hearing aids clean is important for your overall hearing health. Plus, earwax that builds up on the hearing itself can also affect the audio quality coming out of your devices, so it’s best to keep them clean. Your hearing healthcare professional can advise you on the best methods for cleaning your particular hearing aids.
Don’ts Of Earwax Removal
Don’t overclean your ears. While earwax might seem gross or unsightly, it plays an important role in our hearing health, so we need some of it to stay healthy. Plus, overcleaning your ears can cause internal irritation, which can be quite painful. If that wasn’t bad enough, by overcleaning your ears, you can give yourself an ear infection or even cause a wax impaction deep in your ear.
Don’t stick small items in your ear. This includes cotton swabs, bobby pins, paper clips, house keys, or anything else you might think of using to itch your ears or clean them out. The inside of your ear is incredibly sensitive and easy to damage, so sticking small items inside your ear canal could cause a cut or even puncture your eardrum. Ouch!
Don’t use ear candles. Although many people believe that ear candles can safely remove wax from ears, study after study has shown that ear candles do not cause any significant change in wax build-up in the ears. Even worse, ear candling has been shown to damage the ear canal and even the ear drum.
If you suspect that you have some earwax build-up or you’re having difficulty hearing, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional. They can inspect your ears, determine if earwax is the cause, and recommend treatment options to get you back to living your best life.