Ear Wax Removal, The Right Way

Nothing Smaller Than Your Elbow in Your Ear

Ever hear the saying nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear? Well it is really good advice. The first rule of cleaning your ears is don’t, and we really mean don’t! insert foreign objects into your ear canal. That includes cotton swabs, keys, pens, hair clips, bobby pins and anything else that might look like it fits!  The only thing you are likely to achieve is to shove the earwax deeper in. If you keep doing it, it will end up against the eardrum, possibly causing irritation, temporary hearing loss, or eardrum injury.

So what should you be doing to clean your ears I hear you ask? In normal circumstances absolutely nothing (trust me, I’m a Doctor!). Your ears are a wonder of the body, they are self-cleaning, cool or what?! The skin in your ear canal grows outwards from the middle of your eardrum to your outer ear. Between that and the normal motions of your jaw, earwax normally moves from the canal to the outer ear and simply drops out. If you try to remove wax, more often than not you will interrupt the natural process and cause a blockage, your ear continues to generate more wax and it just builds up behind the block. That is when you are in trouble.

Earwax is a Good Thing, Too Much may be a Problem

Ear wax is not just a good thing, it is essential, it contains protective, lubricating, and antibacterial properties. People who don’t produce enough earwax often suffer with dry and itchy ears and over-cleaning the ears produces the same results. So, for most people most of the time, earwax is a great thing and there is nothing for you to do other than washing your outer ear.

Unfortunately for some, that’s not the whole story, because there are situations in which some people produce too much earwax or excess earwax impacts the eardrum. In situations like these, the earwax will have to be removed. The best way to have earwax removed is by a professional, we can see what we are doing and we are trained to do it in a safe and comfortable manner. However, there are kits available to do it at home. You need to do it in a safe manner though.

Cleaning your ears at home

Don’t and we do mean don’t insert anything in your ear, it is worth saying that again. You can damage the skin of the ear canal or even worse perforate your eardrum. This means no cotton swabs and positively no ear candles. Ear candles don’t work, they are complete and utter tosh, tosh is an expression that means utter rubbish. In 2010, the FDA came right out and said they were dangerous and useless. They released a warning against using them, reporting that no scientific evidence supports their effectiveness and that their use can bring about serious injuries. People have ended up with everything from burns to some pretty bad skin damage, and they don’t even remove earwax!!!The Diary of a Teenage Girl movie

To correctly clean your ears at home, take the following steps:

  1. Buy some earwax softening solution at the drugstore, you can make some at home but be very careful. Instructions for making the solution can be found on the internet, and the mixture often includes the use of hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil, and glycerin. WARNING: Hydrogen peroxide is an irritant, so keep to a recognized recipe. We came across someone a few years ago that burnt their eardrum through with too much hydrogen peroxide, not good at all!
  2. Pour the solution into your ears from the bowl or by using a plastic or bulb syringe. Do not add too much pressure to a bulb syringe, if you squirt water in under too much pressure there is a chance that you will burst your ear drum. Tilt your head to the side and allow the solution to work for 5-10 minutes. Time to read a book, contemplate the wall etc.
  3. Drain the solution out of your ear by tilting your head slowly over a container or the sink, then dry off the outer ear some. You can also flush out your ears with lukewarm water using the bulb syringe to dislodge any loose earwax. Really, Really, Don’t Use Much Pressure!

When You Need To Call The Professionals

Okay, now the when not to, if you have an ear infection or have suffered a perforated eardrum cleaning your ears at home with irrigation is a big no. If you have made repeated attempts at self cleaning that failed, it is also time to call the professionals. This could signify a more extreme blockage that requires professional removal. We have a variety of tools that we can use to quickly, thoroughly, and safely remove excess earwax.

When in doubt, leave it to the professionals. You can have the assurance that we will not cause any damage to your ears or you hearing. It is also easy, comfortable, instant and mess free.  We can also identify any underlying issues or hearing loss.

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, give us a call on 512-687-1117 today!

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