Ear Cleaning Tips For Better Hearing

Earwax is a vital bodily fluid that lubricates the ear canal and protects the tiny hairs that enable us to hear. However, an excess of earwax can cause problems, including hearing loss. Excess earwax can usually be removed with ease, but you should not ignore this problem as untreated hearing loss can lead to many more serious problems. If you have noticed a decline in your ability to hear, especially if this affects one ear more than the other, it is possible that an earwax blockage could be causing or contributing to your difficulties.

What is the safest way to clean your ears?

The safest way to clean your ears is to visit an earwax removal technician or a doctor. We strongly advise against cleaning your own ears. Ear drops should be used in guidance with the manufacturer's instructions but that it’s not ideal you can damage the ear, professional ear cleaning is best.

Cleaning your own ears

In general, our ears produce the amount of earwax they need. However, some people do experience excessive earwax. This can be caused by too much cleaning, where the ear produces more earwax in an effort to re-establish an appropriate amount. It can also be caused by some medical in some cases, hearing aids can contribute to the perception that people have more earwax, because they sit in the ear canal and prevent it from coming out naturally. Hearing aids are fitted with wax filters for this purpose, which need to be changed regularly.

Can I use ear cleaning drops?

Since earwax is necessary, you shouldn’t clean it too much – you simply don’t need to. However, you can wipe away any visible excess earwax using a damp cloth. But we strongly advise against using cotton buds.

In fact, you shouldn’t stick anything in your ear canal.

Cotton buds are definitely a bad idea. They may look soft, but they are made from artificial fibres that can scratch and inflame the sensitive skin inside the ear canal, leaving it open to infections. There is also a risk of damage to the eardrum, or even a potential rupture, if the wax becomes impacted against the eardrum. Ear drops should never be used if perforation is present (this is a hole in your eardrum) ear drops should be used in guidance with the manufacturer's instructions but that it’s not ideal you can damage the ear, professional ear cleaning is best.

How often do I need to get my ears cleaned?

There is no one answer to this as everyone’s body produces earwax at a different rate, so it’s impossible to give a definitive answer. Genetics, diet, and exercise can all be other factors affecting wax build up. Our professional earwax removal technicians can advise you on what frequency you should clean your ears.

How not to clean your ears

It is possible. Ironically, it is often when people try to clean their ears by sticking things in them that they can push earwax inwards and create a blockage. Pushing earwax too far in can make it go in beyond where the skin grows outwards, so it gets stuck. Over time, wax can become compacted and it might lead to hearing loss.

There are many methods of removing earwax, including ear irrigation and micro suction, but most of these are safely performed by a doctor or earwax removal technician. You may wish to try eardrops or mineral oil at home, to soften the earwax, but a professional opinion is always helpful, especially if this is a recurrent problem for you.

Paul O'Hara; Audiologist

My name is Paul O'Hara, and I became an audiologist because I am naturally fascinated by hearing's science and the phenomenon of sound. I wanted to pursue a career that satisfies my curiosity and supports my passion. Every day and every person is different. I love my job, especially when I meet a patient who has all but lost the power of hearing, and I know I can help.

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