While unsightly and uncomfortable at times, earwax is critical to the overall functioning of your ears. They offer a last line of defense against intruders into the ear canal. When you mess with that combo, you’re inviting trouble. If you’re like most people, you probably do all you can to extract earwax, whether with some tissue or with your pinky finger. Whatever you’re doing, you’re likely causing harm to your inner ear, whether you realize it or not. In this article, we’ll explore how you can become more aware of the harmful effects of these top cleaning practices that many people resort to. The only way to avoid damaging your ears is to see a professional who can remove the earwax for you.
Did you know that simple ear drops meant for clearing out earwax can be ineffective at best and damaging at worst? Many of these liquid ear drop products are sold at department stores boasting the benefits of this method of earwax extraction, but you can save yourself the money and forget about them. They may not be very effective due to the many differences in the composition of individuals’ earwax, in addition to a variety of ear canal shapes. These products involve instilling drops of liquid into the ear, which can break up the wax and encourage it to flow out again when tilting the head.
Ear candling, the top way in which ear cleaning is dangerous for you, is something people have been doing for years. However, it can actually burn you or set your clothing and hair on fire when misused. These long tapered candles are placed into the ear to encourage a vacuum to pull out earwax. Comprised of a wax-coated material and a long wick, this product is meant to draw out earwax but a lack of suction renders it ineffective. Don’t risk getting burned or having your eardrum punctured.
While this method is one big way in which you can easily get the wax out, its safety is called into question. Even if you’re feeling fresh after stepping out of the shower and cleaning out your ears, you are incurring damage as well as future discomfort. Cotton swabs, good for removing the superficial earwax, can push additional earwax into the ear canal to cause temporary hearing loss and impaction. If you attempt to fix it yourself, you’ll create even more damage.
Professional Ear Care is the Only Way to Go
You can’t put a price on safety. Head to your audiologist when you need to get your ears cleaned. This trained professional is well versed in safe earwax extraction and has many special tools at her disposal to get the job done. You can also undergo an exam that checks for damage of the ear canal. This is a great time to schedule your next appointment as well.