Despite our good intentions to maintain the cleanliness of our ears, we are actually putting our ability to hear at risk. Our ears are very delicate and quite complex, especially the eardrum and even the ear canal skin.
This is why special care is required for our ears to not only keep them clean, but also to protect our hearing. The best way to start is to stop using those Q-tips or cotton-tipped applicators.
Why We Have Ear Wax
Also known as cerumen, our earwax is actually designed for protection. It is a lubricant and has antibacterial properties; without it, our ears will be dry and itchy. Our ears have their natural way of cleaning themselves – even the ear canal as there is a slow, organized movement of skin cells and ear wax from your eardrum to the outer ear.
Why It’s Wrong to Use Q-Tips
Ear wax is formed in the outer part of the ear canal, not in the deep part of the ears close to the eardrum. When someone has wax blockage, the reason for this is because he/she has been using the applicators, bobby pins, or even twisted tissue corners. These things push the ear wax deeper into the ear.
When to Clean the Ears
Ideally, your ear canals should never be cleaned, but some cases aren’t ideal. The ears still have to be regularly cleaned to avoid overwhelming amounts of ear wax, so you don’t have to go visit a doctor. If you allow over-accumulation of wax in your ears, this could lead to the following problems:
- Feeling of fullness in the ear or that the ear is plugged
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ear
- Itching and odor, which usually has a discharge
- Partial hearing loss, which can progress in the long run
How to Correctly Clean Your Ears
So, now you’re wondering how to really clean the ears. Here’s the most recommended method:
- Get a clean piece of cloth.
- Wash the external ear using that cloth.
- Make sure you don’t insert anything into your ear canal.
You probably heard about ear syringing or irrigation where you use a syringe that contains water or saline solution. There are commercially available kits and they are used at home or with the help of a physician. Meanwhile, if you are facing a case of ear wax blockage, you can solve the problem with natural remedies such as:
1. Place a few drops of baby oil into the ear to soften the ear wax. It is very important that you don’t insert anything in your ear. You can also use mineral oil, commercial drops, or even glycerin.
2. Use detergent drops, which include carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide to remove the blockage.
As you can see, you have some options for cleaning your ears. Make sure you stay away from cotton swabs since they actually promote wax blockage, which can lead to hearing loss.