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The Myths, Facts, and Do’s & Don’ts of Cleaning Your Ears

Ears are kind of incredible when you think about them. Capable of picking up noises low as 20 Hz and as high as 20,000 Hz, they’re a sophisticated audio receiver made up of some cartilage, three bones, and bits of fluid. However, ears can also be kind of gross. Think back to the last time you spent a few hours outside or were preparing for bed after a long day. Your ears were probably waxy, and you might have even noticed a bit of that wax accumulating on the outer surface of your ear.

Ear wax is natural, and is necessary for your ears to function as they should. However, there are plenty of folks who get a bit overzealous about cleaning their ears and may do more harm than good. That’s why today, we’re going to share our best recommendations for the do’s and don’ts of cleaning your ears.

Absolutely Do:

Do break out the mineral oil.

Got a buildup of wax? A drop or two of mineral oil can help break apart any gunky bits of earwax and give it a smoother path out of your ear. Simply apply the mineral oil, and then gently rub and massage your ear from the outside (no need to stick anything into your ear canal!).

Do clean your ears after a shower.

A relaxing, warm shower can do wonders for your ears. The steam helps break down excess wax, and if a few drops of water enter while you’re rinsing your hair, they’ll likely carry out any dust or dirt that’s accumulated when they run out of your ears.

 Do use a tissue to wipe away visible wax.

As wax naturally exits your ear, it’ll likely accumulate on your outer ear, showing up as bits of a brown or yellowish substance. When necessary, gently wipe away this accumulated wax with a clean tissue or fresh washcloth. And that’s it! Your ears have the rest under control.

Do ask your friendly Barrie Hearing Professional.

Figuring out how much wax is natural and how much is too much can be a fine line. If you’re not sure, get in contact with your local hearing clinic.

Absolutely Don’t Fall for Gimmicks or Ploys:

Don’t use hydrogen peroxide.

“Hydrogen peroxide makes bubbles,” you might think, “so it’ll bubble the wax right out!” Stop right there – even if your ear’s in perfect condition, hydrogen peroxide is way too harsh for your delicate inner ears. And if your ear isn’t in good shape – if you have a tear or irritation somewhere in your internal tissue – you could make the situation much, much worse with hydrogen peroxide.

Don’t light an ear candle.

Sure, ear candling may sound trendy, but it’s dangerous and ineffective. The premise of the practice is to hold a hollow candle to your ear and light the far end under the assumption that the candle heat will help loosen and draw out the wax. In actuality, this practice can lead to hot wax falling directly into your ear (ouch!) or burning your inner ears – and all without removing any ear wax at all.

Don’t reach for the vacuum.

“All right, so the candle’s out, and I can’t bubble it out with hydrogen peroxide. What about suction?” you might ask. The only one who should ever be putting a vacuum or suction device to your ears is your doctor or hearing specialist. Too much suction can rupture an eardrum; too little can be ineffective, and as with anything inserted into your ear, you run the risk of damaging your ear’s inner workings.

Don’t use Q-tips.

Most people grew up using Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean out their ears. However, as many of them clearly say on the packaging, they’re not intended for use in your inner ears. You can use the clean cotton tips to clean the outside of your ears, but you might end up pushing ear wax back into your ears if you insert them into your ear canal. Plus, if a family member or a pet bumps your elbow while you’re fishing around, you could accidentally puncture or rupture something, and that’ll require serious medical attention to fix.

Don’t clean out all the wax you can find.

Say it with us: wax is a good thing! It’s antibacterial, it keeps your ears soft and lubricated, and it keeps dust and dirt away from your inner ear. Your ears should have wax in them, so don’t reach for the baby oil at the first sign of wax deposits. Let your ears look after themselves, and they – and you – will be healthier and happier for it.

Feeling like your ears are plugged or ringing?

If you can’t shake the feeling that your ears are plugged up, or if you’re accompanied by ringing in your ears wherever you go, it may be time to consult the experts.

From hearing tests, custom earplugs, and hearing aid provision and repairs, the team at Sharpe Hearing has the experience necessary to help you achieve better hearing. With our trademark hometown service, we’ll examine your current hearing and provide you with a customized solution designed to match your lifestyle and preferences.

Give us a call at 705-792-9494 or contact us online to find out more about the services we provide at Sharpe Hearing Clinic.

Sharpe Hearing Clinic is registered with the Ministry of Health, Assistive Devices Program.
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