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How to Properly Clean Your Ears

Did you know that cleaning your ears improperly could possibly weaken your hearing ability? Because your ear is such a delicate and intricate body part, it requires a bit of special care. In order to better understand the ear and how to properly care for it, here are some important tips for keeping your ears healthy.

1. The truth about earwax

Many people think earwax is gross, but the truth is it plays a very important role in keeping your ears healthy. It protects the ear canal skin and serves as a self-cleaning agent with protective, lubricating and antibacterial properties. Without earwax, our ears can become dry, itchy and open to infections.

The best thing you can do for your ears is to not put anything in them smaller than your elbow. Earwax isn’t formed in the deep part of our ear canals. So items like cotton swabs actually push wax deeper into the ear and are often the cause of wax blockage against the eardrum. Let nature run its course when it comes to earwax and use a washcloth or a tissue to wipe your outer ear after showering.

2. When ears need to be cleaned

In an ideal world, ear canals should never need to be cleaned. But unfortunately sometimes earwax can accumulate and cause a condition caused cerumen (earwax) impaction, which can result in:

Earaches or a “plugged” sensation in the ear
Partial hearing loss
Tinnitus
Itching, odor or discharge
Coughing

If you experience any of these symptoms, first see your doctor or hearing healthcare provider. If earwax is the culprit, your doctor or a trained Audiologist can remove it.

3. Earwax and hearing aids

If you wear hearing aids, you know that earwax can be a pain. Earwax can clog the receivers and/or domes of the hearing aid, which can reduce the effectiveness of the device. A lot of users actually notice an increase in wax production when they begin wearing hearing aids.

It’s very important to properly clean and care for your hearing aids as instructed by your hearing healthcare professional. Make sure you are cleaning your hearing aids daily by wiping them off with a cloth or a tissue.

There is no real way to prevent excessive earwax, but if you use hearing aids or are prone to repeated wax impaction, consider a routine preventative cleaning from an Audiologist or physician every 6 to 12 months.

To schedule a diagnostic hearing evaluation, please call Evolution Hearing in Charlottesville, VA at 434-260-8007 or our Raleigh, NC location at 919-670-3258.