A very commonly asked question our clients ask us when they come for their ear wax removal appointments here at HJ Health is ‘Should I be cleaning my ears and what’s the best way to do it?’ This is the answer to that question!
What’s the best way to clean my ears?
The ear is self-cleaning. No routine maintenance is required. If you’re inserting cotton buds into your ears to remove ear wax or prevent its build up, think again! Earwax is produced within the ear canal and naturally migrates from deeper inside to outside. There are exceptions, of course. Some people make more than the average amount of earwax, and for others (especially older adults) it becomes harder and drier than usual. Even in these situations, inserting a cotton bud inside the ear is not the answer. Inserting anything into the ear can damage the ear canal or eardrum, or push earwax further into the canal, making it harder to remove. This may cause a feeling of pressure in the ear and diminished hearing. Even worse, clumps of earwax pushed down near the eardrum can lead to painful ear infections.
Earwax is not a sign of poor hygiene
Here’s where there seems to be some misunderstanding. Earwax — the medical term is “cerumen” — is there for good reasons. Among other things, ear wax:
- is a natural moisturizer, preventing the skin inside the ear from becoming too dry
- traps dirt and dust before they can reach deep into the canal
- absorbs dead skin cells and debris
- prevents bacteria and other infectious organisms from reaching the inner ear.
Some people make more earwax, while others make less. The makeup of earwax varies depending on ethnicity, age, environment, and even diet. It certainly isn’t a reflection of uncleanliness; in fact, it’s a sign of normal, healthy ears.
What to do about build up of ear wax
Build up of earwax can cause symptoms. When it does, doctors call it “cerumenosis” and recommend over-the-counter ear drops that can soften earwax and allow it to exit the ear more easily. Sometimes though, that’s not enough and that’s where we come in! Here at H J Health we use the new micro suction method to gently remove the wax for you. Our team of highly experienced and qualified earwax removal specialists will assess your ears, remove the wax and give you advice on how to treat yours ears going forward. We then offer free check ups on a regular basis to keep that ear wax at bay!
Cleaning the outer ear is great. Cleaning the ear canal is a big no no!