Top Dos and Don'ts of Ear Cleaning

Hand and Ear

Ear cleaning is a hotly debated subject, but it shouldn’t be. Your ears do a lot of the ear cleaning work all on their own, so it’s often unnecessary for you to be attempting to clean your ears out yourself. Below, we will take a look at the top do’s and don'ts of ear cleaning to clear up any confusion.

Don’t use cotton swabs inside of your ears

The cotton swab is probably the most popular tool at home for cleaning out ears, but they can be very dangerous. First, they are not designed to actually rid the ear of excess wax, and if wax is built up or impacted, you can actually cause permanent damage to your ear canal and hearing by putting the swab in there. This can be very painful, and in some cases difficult to reverse.

Do use a tissue on your finger to wipe away excess wax outside of your ear

If you can see ear wax on the outside portion of your ear and you would like to clean it away, the safest, best way to do so at home is using a tissue on the end of your finger. You can easily wipe flaky earwax away this way without putting your ears or hearing in danger.

Do let your ears clean themselves out naturally

Your ears are designed to keep themselves lubricated and infection-free with wax. We need at least some wax for our ears to stay healthy and work well. Earwax moves as we chew and use our jaw muscles, and makes its way outside of the ear. Allow this natural process to happen, using the tissue method mentioned above if you notice any wax. Your ears do a fine job most of the time of cleaning themselves out, so you don’t need to do anything at all.

Don’t use ear candling

Ear candling claims to remove excess earwax from the ears by melting wax and drawing it up out of the ear. While it might look like you have removed it, it is unlikely to improve your condition. The wax from the candle can actually melt and end up inside your ear, which is why so many professionals have found more wax after a client has used this treatment, not less. Whether you do ear candling at home or go to a salon doesn't make any difference - it is still dangerous and can cause hearing problems, impacted wax, and burns. There are no studies to back up the effects they claim to have.

Do consult an audiologist if you need help cleaning your ears

If you do happen to have excess wax, an audiologist is the only person who can safely help you to clean your ears.

Don’t use other DIY methods to clean your ears

Other DIY methods, such as chemical solutions, oils and even sharp objects should all be avoided. DIY methods for ear cleaning are just accidents waiting to happen.