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Bin cotton ear buds: How to clean your ears properly to prevent damage

Bin cotton ear buds: How to clean your ears properly to prevent damage

Do you experience clogged ears? Sometimes too much wax can build up and make hearing difficult.

At the same time, you’ve undoubtedly read that it’s dangerous to remove earwax with cotton swabs.

Here are some pointers on how to properly clean your ears, as well as when you should seek medical attention.

Cerumen, often known as earwax, is a self-cleaning substance made by your body. It gathers dirt, micro-organisms, and other trash.

Typically, chewing and other jaw movements help the wax to gradually exit the ears.

Many people’s ears never need to be cleaned. Wax can, however, occasionally accumulate and impair your hearing. This stage of earwax build-up is known as impaction.

If you have impaction, you may have symptoms such as ear pain, fullness, ringing, diminished hearing, an odour emanating from the afflicted ear, dizziness and a cough.

If you wear earplugs or hearing aids, your risk of developing extra wax may increase. People with developmental difficulties and older folks are also more vulnerable. The design of your ear canal could make it challenging for wax to be naturally removed.

Visiting a doctor is the most secure technique to clean up wax accumulation from your ears. Your physician may use specialised tools, such as a cerumen spoon, forceps, or suction equipment, during your visit to remove the obstruction. A lot of offices also provide watering services.

According to Dr Katie Ogden, an audiologist and training manager for ReSound North-West Europe, the following are the safest techniques to try on your own if you decide to try to remove wax at home:

Wet cloth

Wax may be pushed further into the ear canal using cotton swabs. Only clean the outside of your ears using cotton swabs, or even better, try wiping the area with a warm, damp wash cloth.

Ear cleansing drops sold without a prescription

Over-the-counter (OTC) ear drops that soften wax are widely available from pharmacies. Typically, these drops are a solution. They might include:

  • Crude oil
  • Baby oil
  • Glycerin
  • Peroxide
  • Hydroxyl radical
  • Saline

“Place the recommended number of drops into your ear, give it some time to soak, and then drain or rinse it out. Continually adhere to the directions on the box. If your symptoms persist after treatment, consult a doctor,” Ogden says.

Bulb syringe

Another option is to irrigate your ears with a syringe. During this procedure, you’ll use water or a saline solution to gently flush out the ear canal. Ogden says: “This approach is frequently more effective if you use some form of wax softener first, followed by irrigation, 15 to 30 minutes later. To prevent dizziness, it is advisable to warm the solution to body temperature.”

How to safely remove earwax

  • Request that the wax be removed in your doctor’s office.
  • Apply a wet towel to the outside of your ear to clean it.
  • Avoid inserting cotton swabs into the ear canal if you decide to use them.
  • Earwax can be made easier to remove by using an earwax softener.
  • You can irrigate your ears with a syringe.

Avoid cleaning your ears too frequently. If done poorly, doing so could irritate your ear canal or perhaps cause further impaction. According to experts, people may not need to clean their ears unless they frequently experience problems like clogs. Instead, your ears take care of themselves.

If you don’t struggle with accumulation, you should merely use a moist wash cloth to wipe the outer portion of your ears. According to Ogden, washing the outer ear should remove any wax that has naturally left the ear canal.

If you have wax build-up symptoms, you might want to use an over-the-counter kit to remove wax from your ears. Be sure to follow the instructions on the container and speak with a doctor if you have any questions.

If you should have your ears cleaned professionally or on your own, a doctor can advise you on this as well. Some people shouldn’t clean their ears at home with OTC kits or other DIY techniques, such as those who have holes in their eardrums or tubes.

Issues to avoid

“Many people don’t need to regularly clean their ears”, Ogden says.

“The wax must be able to handle itself. You risk pushing the wax deep into the ear canal if you use tiny objects, such as bobby pins, cotton swabs, or napkin edges”. When wax accumulates, it may become affected, Ogden says.

Most doctors will advise you not to insert anything smaller than your elbow inside your ear. To put it another way, avoid using anything that could harm your eardrum or permanently impair your hearing, such as cotton swabs or sharp items.

If you have diabetes, a damaged immune system, a hole in your eardrum, or tubes in the afflicted ear, you shouldn’t try to irrigate your ears.

Another alternative to avoid is ear candles. The long, cone-shaped candles are placed inside the ear canal and ignited before being used to suction wax upward. You could sustain injuries from the flames or unintentionally get candle wax in your ear.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.

Original Article