Earwax is a naturally occurring substance that provides a protective barrier against dirt and bacteria and moisturizes the skin of ear canal, preventing dry, itchy ears. Earwax typically works itself out of the ear canal through regular jaw movements when talking or chewing. However, excessive earwax can be unsightly and, in some cases, become impacted, causing pain, pressure and even temporary hearing loss. Below is a guide for properly cleaning earwax out of your ears.
What Not to Do
It may seem like cotton swabs, or Q-Tips, are the perfect devices for cleaning out your ears, but this is not the case. From punctured eardrums to impacted earwax, the dangers of cotton swabs far outweigh the benefits when it comes to your ear canal.
Other go-to devices people use to clean their ears that can be dangerous include:
- Hair pins
Under no circumstances should any of these devices be inserted into your ear. The rule of thumb is no object smaller than your finger should enter the ear canal, unless by a doctor.
What You Should Do
Below are the steps to cleaning your ears safely at home:
- Pour clean, lukewarm water into a bowl, adding a few drops of hydrogen peroxide if you wish. (Do not use hot or cold water, as this can stimulate the vestibular system and cause dizziness.)
- Hold a towel under the ear you’re about to clean so you don’t make a mess.
- Fill a bulb syringe (or plastic bag/bottle with pinhole in the bottom) with water from the bowl.
- With the hand opposite from the ear you’re cleaning, reach around the back of your head and pull your ear slightly backward and upward.
- With the other hand, squeeze the syringe (or makeshift syringe) so water squirts into the ear with steady pressure.
- Repeat until the earwax has been flushed out. Stop if it’s taken more than five minutes or if you experience pain or dizziness.
- Place a few drops of rubbing alcohol in your ear to dry up excess water, if you wish.
If you feel your ear still feels clogged, visit an audiologist or ENT physician. To schedule an appointment, call the experts at Hearing Center of Lake Charles today.