How often should you clean your ears?
It’s advised to avoid cleaning the ears too often and it’s recommended that they are cleaned only every 2 to 4 weeks.
The ear cleans itself naturally and having some earwax in your ear canals is normal and beneficial to the health of the ears. Earwax migrates from the ear canal towards the outer ear as a result of the motion of the jaw when chewing or from other facial movements.
The ear is reliant on earwax which helps to remove any particles or debris from the inner ear and canal. Cleaning the ear too often can compromise the function of earwax.
Should you clean your ears at all?
It’s important to note that there are exceptions, some individuals have an abnormally high amount of cerumen (earwax) build-up, and elderly adults tend to produce wax that is harder and drier than usual.
It’s necessary to clean out your ears if there is too much earwax buildup, as this could lead to dizziness and muffled hearing.
How to clean your ears?
If you aren’t dealing with wax buildup, cotton swabs should only be used for cleaning the outer part of your ears, but using a wet washcloth is preferable. Doing this helps to remove any wax that has naturally seeped out of the ear canal.
Cleaning ears with cotton swabs
It’s generally recommended to avoid putting anything in your ears such as cotton swabs to remove or prevent wax buildup. Using cotton swabs to clean the ear canal can push wax deeper into the ear canal and result in impacted cerumen so make sure that they are only used for cleaning the outside of the ear canal.
When cotton swabs are inserted into the ear canal, excess earwax can be pushed toward the eardrum. The wax can sometimes become compacted against the ear canal wall instead of sticking to the cotton swab.
This can result in various complications such as tinnitus and temporary hearing loss.
Never use ear wax candles
Ear candling is a complementary way of extracting earwax from the era canal. It involves placing a candle made from beeswax-soaked fabric with a hollow center in the ear, then lighting it up for about 15 minutes to generate suction. In theory, this is supposed to loosen the wax and draw it out together with bacteria and debris from the ear canal.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE PMID: 18077749
Why shouldn’t you use ear candles?
There is no scientific evidence that ear wax candles work. There have also been reports of adverse effects associated with ear wax candles. The clinical practice guidelines also advise against the use of ear wax candles.2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE PMID: 180777493✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1177/0194599816671491
You are at risk of being burnt by the candle flame or even the melted wax. The wax from the candle could even into the ear canal and clog the passage and cause temporary hearing loss. There have also been cases of punctured eardrums following the ear candling process.
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