How to clean ears safely?
Cerumen, or earwax, can accumulate excessively causing blockage and difficulty in hearing. Naturally, it helps to lubricate the inside of your ears hence preventing itchiness and dryness. Although it is normal to feel tempted to clean the ears, earwax is antibacterial thus making the ears self-cleaning and not in need of extra care. By its properties, earwax traps dirt and dust before they get into the insides of the ear. When we chew and move our jaw, we push old wax out of our ears automatically, which then dries and falls out.
Benefits and Dangers of Cleaning Ears
Ears cleaning reduces symptoms such as muffed/strained hearing, aching, odor due to infection, ringing, fullness, dizziness and coughing. People who use hearing aids and earplugs are at a higher risk of contracting infection and should, therefore, consider cleaning the ears often. Ears cleaning may become necessary due to some developmental disabilities, old age, or the shape of the ear canal that may limit the natural exclusion of the old wax.
However, cleaning your ears has potential dangers that are commonly associated with sticking sharp objects like ear swabs. Sharp objects push the old wax meant to fall out more in-depth into the ear causing infection. If the infections are not treated in good time, you may experience significant hearing loss. Also, a direct impact into the ear commonly caused by using ear swabs may often cause eardrum rupture, or a small tear or hole in the eardrum.
Safety Methods of Cleaning Ears
The safest way to clean or remove wax from your ears is by visiting your doctor as you may not have the specialized equipment like forceps, cerumen and suction devices to rid of the blockage. A doctor may also discover other underlying problems that need attention. However, the following guidelines will direct you on how to ensure safety when cleaning yourself at home.
I. Ear Irrigation
In the process of irrigation, you should warm plain water and add ear drops or saline solution. Be cautious as hot water may cause dizziness and burns that lead to infection. You should irrigate the ear with a syringe by pouring drops of the solution into the ear canal. This process is meant to rinse the ear. However, people with holes in the eardrum, skin conditions like eczema in or around the ear, diabetes and weak immune system should not irrigate without doctor’s supervision.
II. Clean ears safely with damp cloth
Instead of using cotton swabs as most people often do, wet cloth and paper towels are other options to clean the inside of the ears. Deep the cloth in lukewarm water and squeeze out excess water before wiping the accessible parts of the ear. You can also use a damp cotton swab to clean the outside without inserting it deep into the ear. If you have pierced ears, clean the earrings and earlobes regularly to avoid dirt accumulation and odor.
III. Earwax softeners to clean ears safely
There are various types of over-the-counter ear drops and solutions to use at home to loosen the wax buildup for easy removal. The best solutions for this purpose are baby oil, glycerin, mineral oil, and carbamide peroxide. Apply a few drops of either of the solution and let sit for approximately fifteen minutes then drain and rinse the ear with plain warm water. It is essential to read and follow instructions on the package of the solutions for better results. Also, there is a solution like hydrogen peroxide. Although it is a good wax softener, hydrogen peroxide can worsen underlying problems in the ear.
You should avoid cleaning your ears with candle wax as it can result in burns, residues of candle wax in the ear, holes in the middle ear and membranes, punctures in the eardrum and bleeding.
Protecting your ears against sharp objects and loud noises are essential for general health. Consider purchasing earplugs with filters to balance the pressure in the ears.
You must also inform your physician of any changes in your hearing such as ringing ears and sudden pain. Other symptoms to pay attention to are feeling fullness in the ear and drainage of fluids.
Cleaning the ears bring about a lot of benefits and make you feel better as a result. But you should remember that cleaning your ears too frequently removes wax that protects you from dust, dirt, bacteria and debris.