4 Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Ears: Are You Doing It Safely?

4 Dos and Don'ts of Cleaning Your Ears: Are You Doing It Safely?

Ears. The vehicle for one of the five senses. And they’re important for more than just your hearing.

Your ears also help to maintain our balance and contribute to our spatial awareness whether you’re hearing impaired or not.

Besides plain old vanity, proper ear hygiene is an absolute necessity for healthy and happy ears. 

Ear wax. Cerumen. It’s that orangey, brownish stuff that ears secrete to lubricate and protect the ear canal. But when it accumulates, it can be uncomfortable and unsightly.

If you wear hearing aids with noise-cancelling features, it can be unsettling to find the stuff stuck on your hardware.

Here are 4 Tips for cleaning your ears properly:

1. Do Dry Ears After Water Activities

After engaging in water sports and activities, it is necessary to thoroughly dry your ears. An overly moist environment can allow bacteria and fungi to flourish and cause damage or infections. In addition to gently towel drying your ears, you can also use a warm blow dryer. This is especially important if you use assistive listening devices. 

2. Do Use Nasal Saline

As your ears and nose are connected, using nasal saline during allergy and cold season can help keep your ears clear of congestion, which can help to increase ear wax production or speed up its movement.

3. Do See a Professional

If you are having trouble cleaning your ears, see a specialist. Audiologists and ENT doctors are best qualified to properly clear ear blockages, including impacted ear wax. This is more likely to happen if you use hearing aids.

4. Do Use Hydrogen Peroxide

In between medical visits, you can use hydrogen peroxide or mineral oil to help loosen wax and help it to move more efficiently. This loosening will allow you to easily clean it without entering your ear canal.

5. Don’t Use Cotton Swabs

Although most cotton swabs do not recommend people use them for ears, people do it anyway. But cotton swabs can injure and bruise your inner ear structures. The same is true of keys, pen caps, hairpins, fingers, and other small objects.

6. Don’t Over Do It

It is possible to over-clean your ears. Excessive cleaning is irritating and can cause impaction and infection.

7. Don’t Use Ear Candles

There is no evidence that ear candling actually does what it says. And having open flames near your face is not advisable.

8. Don’t Forget Your Device

Make sure you keep your hearing devices clean. Dirty aids can introduce harmful bacteria and other materials into your ear canal.

The long and short of it all is this: do take good care of your ears and don’t stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. Ear wax may seem like a nuisance sometimes, but it serves a purpose. It removes debris, it regulates certain fungi and bacteria and it keeps the skin lubricated. You want your listeners to work well for as long as they can, so keep their safety in mind when you clean them.

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