Hearing Blog

Keeping Your Ears Clean

Keeping Your Ears Clean

Keeping Your Ears Clean

August 17, 2020

We all find it difficult to hear sometimes because of too much earwax. However, the steps we take in order to clean our ears often makes our hearing worse. Using cotton swabs or q-tips to clean out your ears is possibly the worst solution, not to mention quite a dangerous one. You might find it hard to believe, but your ears actually have the ability to keep themselves clean!

What is commonly known as earwax is actually a substance called cerumen which is created by the ears as a defense mechanism. Cerumen helps prevent dirt, dust, and other foreign particles from getting into the ears, thereby protecting the ears from damage. That sticky earwax also helps provide adequate lubrication to help prevent dryness and itchy ears. Lastly, and possibly the most important of all, the cerumen within your ears acts as a shield to help prevent bacteria and fungus from growing inside your ears, thereby keeping you safe from infections.

Cerumen has its own path to follow, and once it has served its purpose, it usually falls right out due to the constant jaw movements that we make when we chew, yawn, or talk. This is how your ears actually keep themselves clean, without any requirement for outside help. In fact, when you use those dangerous q-tips to clean your ears, you can actually push the cerumen deeper into your ears and even puncture your ear drum!

It is always a good idea to rinse out your ears in the shower to get rid of any dirt and debris. Make sure you dry your outer ears with a clean, dry towel to prevent any moisture from remaining in your ears. This action also helps get rid of excessive earwax.

Of course, we are all different and so are our ears. Some of us produce excessive amounts of earwax which is unnecessary and can interfere with our hearing. Too much earwax can block the ear canal, thereby causing hearing problems, painful ears, and fullness of ringing within the ears. In extreme cases you may even experience dizziness due to excessive earwax, and even a foul odor that may emanate from your ears.

Hearing aid users often experience more buildup of cerumen due to the ear’s inability to eliminate earwax the regular way as a result of the presence of hearing aids that block the exit. Older adults may also experience more occurrences of excessive earwax than younger adults. If you feel that you have too much earwax that may be blocking your hearing, always get it treated by a medical professional.

A common method of eliminating excessive earwax is water irrigation to rinse out the excessive cerumen with a jet of water. Even suctions or curettes may be used to scoop the excessive amounts of earwax out of the ears. If you wish to keep earwax from building up, it is recommended that you visit a medical professional twice a year or once every year (depending on how quickly your earwax builds up) for a professional cleaning.