This Will Make You Stop Cleaning Inside Your Ears (According to Doctors)

This Will Make You Stop Cleaning Inside Your Ears

Many people regularly clean their ears with the best intentions of keeping them clean and healthy. However, our ears are not designed for cleaning. In fact, they have their own hygienic regime in place, and by sticking objects into the ear, you are only disrupting this natural process. Or worse, causing an injury.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNSF), warns against the use of cotton-tipped applicators and the habit of probing into your ears. On their official website, they connect the over-zealous ear cleaning with the risk of hearing loss. (1)

Ear wax, medically known as cerumen, is a healthy feature of your ears and acts as a self-cleaning agent. It has protective, lubricating and anti-bacterial characteristics.

The ear wax migrates from the ear drum to the ear opening, cleaning the ear canal, and then drying and falling out.

This is a self-regulating process and in normal circumstances, there is no need to interfere. If there is an absence of ear wax, the ears become dry and itchy.

What Happens When You Use Cotton Swabs to Clean Your Ears?

When you use cotton swabs, you are actually pushing the wax deeper into your ear, and into the area where it shouldn’t be. It can get stuck and blocked against the ear drum, which can cause all sorts of complications.

Fungus, bacteria and viruses from the outer ear get pushed into the ear and can cause infections, which are extremely painful.

If the wax is jammed deep inside the ear canal, it can cause hearing loss.

If it gets shoved even further, it can damage the ear drum and result in a rupture.

Do You Actually Need To Clean Your Ear?

Ideally, your ears should never be cleaned. By cleaning the inside of the ear you are only creating a vicious cycle.

Dr. Douglas Backous, M.D., chair of the AAO-HNSF and director of hearing and skull base surgery at Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle, explains that when you constantly rub the skin of your ears, a lot of histamine gets released. This makes the skin irritated and inflamed. And the more you scratch, the more it itches. (2)

The only time that ear wax should be cleaned is when you’ve been assessed by a doctor, who has noticed wax accumulation (cerumen impaction).

The condition presents with symptoms such as earache, hearing loss, tinnitus, itching, odor and discharge. The ear should then be cleaned by a medical professional.

If you do want to continue cleaning your ears, do not insert anything into the inner ear!

Clean only the external ear (which is also the recommendation of cotton swabs manufacturers), using a cloth.

You can also use gentle at-home irrigation if you really have to or just cannot leave your ears alone. Dr. Backous recommends a mixture of one part white vinegar, one part rubbing alcohol and one part tap water. Make sure it’s at body temperature and use a few drops in each ear.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be putting anything into your ear. Just let the body do its magic!

And if you or your child suffers from ear infection, you can also try the following treatments to remove wax from your ears.

Other Options for Ear Wax Removal

If your ears are clogged due to wax accumulation, there are few easy ways to get rid of it naturally and safely to relieve the blockage. One word of warning: do not use any of these treatments if you have a hole in your eardrum.

Olive oil

To get rid of the wax that is clogging your ears, use warm olive oil. The soothing properties of olive oil will remove any discomfort from your ear and help the wax to drain quickly and clear the blocked ear.

Here is how to do it

  • Warm some extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Put a few drops in the blocked ear using a dropper.
  • Keep your head sideways to help the oil settle.
  • Let the oil go to work for a few minutes to soften the ear wax.
  • Using a cotton bud, gently and carefully remove the loosened wax from the outer part of the ear.
  • Use the remedy as often as necessary to get rid of all the excess wax from your ears.

Related: The Most Effective Ways to Naturally Get Rid of Clogged Ears

3% Food Grade Hydrogen peroxide

Food grade hydrogen peroxide can help you get rid of a buildup of ear wax quickly and effectively which can help you to unplug your ear.

Hydrogen peroxide has an antiseptic effect that can help to prevent skin infections. According to doctors at WebMD, the bubbling action helps to bring up dirt and loosen it.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School recommend using 3% hydrogen peroxide for ear wax removal.

If you want to get rid of a congested ear using hydrogen peroxide, this is what you should do:

  • Put two drops of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide in your clogged ear. Don’t exceed that amount or you could damage your eardrum.
  • Wait until you hear a fizzing sound (it should take a few minutes).
  • Let it fizz for few minutes until it stops.
  • Tilt your head to the side, so that the solution and ear wax can drip out.

Do this every time you need to unclog your ears from excess ear wax.

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