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Rarely do people know that these easy cleaning habits may gradually weaken your hearing ability and may even lead to surgical procedures. Therefore, you need to know the right way to get that dirty wax away from your ears and give you a dapper look every time you step out.
Let’s understand the basics of a human ear to get its cleaning right!
The ear is made up of a canal, eardrum, and little bones in the middle section called ossicles. When you insert objects into your ear, it can damage this delicate bone resulting in a leak of fluid from the inner ears. It would result in vertigo or even a permanent hearing loss.
Lets give you some more information about the causes behind dirty ears, why ears produce earwax, why shouldn’t you use ear buds, natural ways to clean your ears and the best on-the-shelf products available in the market like Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System by Doctor Easy and Audiologists Choice Earwax Removal System.
How do your ears get dirty?
Like every other body part, our ears also get dust and pollen from the environment. However, when it comes to dirtiness in the ears, the picture of a yellowish-orange gluey substance called earwax comes in our mind. Most of us are habitual of cleaning this waxy substance regularly to maintain clean ears.
But it is the same wax that prevents debris and dust to enter deep into the ear canal and avoids ear infection. It has the properties to kill bacteria and prevent the growth of fungus in ears. Keep reading to know why and how ears produce this wax, and when should you clean it out.
Why Do Your Ears Produce Wax?
Now you might be confused if earwax is useful, why do we remove it? Should we let our ears loaded with this sometimes-stinky, itchy and dirty substance? Good news! We have got answers to all questions in your mind.
Officially known as Cerumen, ear wax is naturally produced by the body of a human and a large number of mammals. It contains long-chain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, squalene, and alcohols.
The hollow shape of the ear canal is designed to detect and amplify sound and translate it into brain signals. Sadly, this hollow part also easily deposits dust, debris, and dead skin cells. Earwax traps this stuff and prevents them from passing deeper into the ear canal. Thus, Cerumen is good in normal amounts; it acts as a self-cleaning agent. It traps dust, slowly moves from ear canal to ear opening, where it dries, flakes and falls out naturally. The absence of earwax can make your ear dry and itchy.
Earwax is not produced in the outer one-third of the ear canal. Earwax blockage occurs because of the following reasons:
- Using the Wrong Object to Clean Ear:Many times, people become desperate when cleaning ears. It causes the wax to move deeper into the ear canal, thus causing a blockage.
- Using the Wrong Method: Instead of getting it out of the ear, people tend to push the wax inside the canal, and this can cause earwax blockage.
- Headsets:Using headsets for long hours and hearing aids don’t give space for earwax to go out and eventually blocks it.
- Other Reasons:lots of hair in the ear canal, deformed ear canal, ear infection, skin conditions, and growing age.
You can diagnose the earwax blockage with the symptoms like decreased hearing, dizziness, ear pain, ringing in the ear, fullness sensation, itching or drainage of fluid from the ear canal.
Depending on the age, diet, and environment, everyone’s ear wax differs in the substances it’s made up of. It is supposed to be bright orange and dark brown in color. In adults, earwax tends to be darker and harder; and in children, earwax is lighter and softer.
When and how often should you clean your ears?
Again, earwax is perfectly natural and vital for the protection of your ear. You don’t need to insert inappropriate objects into your ears everyday to clean them.
However, if you notice the symptoms of excessive ear wax, this condition is the time to take action.
To clean the ears, you can gently rub the outer ear with a damp cloth. However inserting q-tip, bobby pins and other objects into the ear canal is a big no-no. You can try a few home treatments to soften the wax. Place a few drops of mineral oils, glycerin or commercial drops in the ear. Many of these methods instantly respond to earwax blockage.
Irrigation and ear syringing is one of the most common methods of cleaning ears that can performed by a physician or at home as well. Otolaryngologist also performs manual methods using specially designed miniature instruments, and a microscope to magnify ear canal. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, have a hole in the eardrum, tube in the eardrum, a weakened immune system or skin problem in the ear canal.
There is another well-endorsed method of cleaning ear that is ear candling. In this technique, lit, hollow, cone-shaped candle is placed into the ear canal with the intention to melt the wax. But medical experts condemn this method as it can cause serious injury. Ear candling is ineffective in earwax removal and also for any other condition. In fact, ear candling can push the wax deeper into the ear canal. It can lead to other conditions like adeposit of candle wax in the canal, eardrum puncture and burns on face, hair and sensitive parts of ears. Never try this method.
Why Shouldn’t You Use Buds To Clean Your Ear?
It is what our parents and doctors have been telling us since our childhood. But for most of us, digging around in the ear canal with a cotton swab or ear buds is a matter of pleasure or satisfaction. It gives them a feeling of cleanliness.
But despite this pleasurable and cleanliness feeling, using a cotton swab to clean your hair can be extremely dangerous. Medical experts will always warn you against it because of noted catastrophes resulting from using earbuds in the ear. These mainly include punctured eardrums and super impacted wax.
The ear canal produces cerumen or ear wax that, if produced excessively, can cause eardrum blockage. Instead of seeing a medical professional, many people pick swabs, which is more harmful than good.
The eardrum is very delicate and is easily reached by ear buds. It can be easily punctured even by the gentlest pressure when using a swab. Ask anyone who experienced eardrum puncture. You won’t try digging your ear canal using an earbud after that. Eardrum puncture feels so terrible.It can cause severe pain, leaky ear, and even permanent hearing loss.
Ways To Clean Your Ears
There are two ways to clean your ears. You can try homemade treatments or use some recommended on-the-shelf products.
Home Remedies to Clean Your Ears
There are many natural ways to remove hardened earwax and unblock the blocked ear canal. Following are some best home remedies that you can try to fix the condition. You have to repeat these remedies several times depending on the extent of wax accumulation.
Note: Use these remedies carefully. Consult your physician if several repetitions of these remedies don’t work. Do not self-treat yourself with these methods if you have a hole or tube in your eardrum.
Salt water is the best and easiest solution you can use at home. Salted water softens the hard earwax making it easier for you to remove it without mush hassle.
Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt into 1/4 cup warm water. When salt completely dissolves into the water, tilt the affected ear upward and place 3-4 drops of saline water in it. Use a dropper or cotton ball for the ease. Keep your ear tilted for 3-5 minutes to allow the saline water work. Now tilt your head in the opposite direction to drain out the saline solution. Use a dry cloth to remove the softened wax.
You can replace salt with baking soda to get rid of irritating excessive earwax. Combine 1/4 baking soda with two tablespoon water. Place a few drops of solution in your ear, keep it for 5 minutes and then use a dry cloth to remove the softened wax.
Hydrogen Peroxide features an effervescent property that helps to liquefy the hardened wax. Using this solution can be harmful if an ear that had surgery or one with a hole or tube in the eardrum. Also, a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide can be harmful. Make sure not to use it above 3.5%.
Mix 3% of hydrogen peroxide with 97% of water. Place a few drops of this solution in your ear using a dropper. Leave it for 5-7 minutes. Wipe away the softened wax using a soft cloth.
Another simple way to remove excessive earwax! Olive oil softens accumulated earwax and also reduces the risk of infection because of its antiseptic properties. Warm olive oil slightly and pour it in a dropper. Put a few drops into the affected ear and let it sit here for 5 minutes until wax becomes soft. Remove the wax using an ear bud of dry cloth.
Due to its lubricating and moisturizing nature, glycerin also makes a great home remedy that helps loosen hardened and blocking wax.
Put 3-4 drops of glycerin in the affected ear and place a cotton piece on the outer ear. Leave it undisturbed for a few minutes. Remove cotton and flush warm water in your ear. Dry the outer ear using a soft towel or hand-held dryer.
Baby oil is a kind of mineral oil, which is a byproduct of petroleum. It acts as a very effective lubricating and moisturizing agent and therefore can soften the accumulated wax easily.
Pour a few drops of baby oil in the affected ear and let it sit there for 5-10 minutes. Tilt your head in the opposite direction to drain out the extra oil and clean your outer ear with a soft cloth.
If earwax blockage is causing pain, use garlic oil as the instant relief remedy. Garlic features natural antibiotic properties due to the presence of allicin. Allicin is an excellent anti-microbial agent that combats all types of infections in the ear. Garlic oil not only deals with excessive wax but also alleviates any accompanying pain.
Heat some sesame or mustard oil in a pan and crush garlic cloves in the warm oil. Let it sit in the pan till cloves turn black. When oil gets cool, soak a cotton ball into it. Drop the oil in your ear, let it sit for 10 minutes and then tilt your head in the opposite direction to drain out excess oil. Repeat the process twice a day to deal with accumulated earwax.
Mix vinegar and alcohol to dissolve hardened wax quickly. Flush your ear with this solution two times a day to maintain clean and infection-free ears. Alcohol works as a drying agent. It evaporates at low temperature. Vinegar acts as an astringent and anti-microbial agent to fight off an ear infection.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Omega 3 fatty acids are good for our whole body because these help to detoxify it from inside. Aside from this, omega 3 fatty acids also help get rid of earwax. Important! Don’t place omega 3 fatty acids in your ear. You have to ingest it as per physician’s recommendation. Include diet that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids to be helpful with earwax blockage.
Commercial Products That Could Help You with Cleaning Your Ears
LEOKOR Earwax Removal Curette Kit
LEOKOR Earwax Removal curette kit contains 6 pieces of ear picks that are designed to allow ease-of-use. These picks are made up of medical grade stainless steel to allow infection-free earwax removal. The material is highlydurable and anti-rusting, making it a long-term investment. These are ergonomically designed for easy to use, easy to clean and sterilization purposes.
If you look at the product, it appears so trendy much alike an anti-skid design. It’s easy to control and safe to use. Every ear pick has a double-head design that includes spring on one side and spiral on the other. This structure allows you massage ears conveniently and relieve itching while cleaning.
The kit comes with a portable metal storage box in which these ear picks fit well. So you can carry it even when you are on the go. LEOKOR earwax removal curette kit is designed to remove buildup and accumulated wax. It is widely used in hospitals, offices, and families because of effectiveness and safety while using it.
When you start using the tools, make sure you clean it using alcohol. Guide your children and other family members to use these tools carefully without damaging their eardrums. If you ever feel discomfort when using this tool, consult your physician immediately. When it comes to the cost, this kit of ear picks costs very reasonable considering its benefits.
Audiologists Choice Earwax Removal System
This over the counter earwax removal tool gently softens and loosens ear wax by using peroxide formula. Carbamide peroxide is the active ingredient of Audiologists Choice Earwax Removal System that helps in earwax removal. To use this product, tilt your head sideways. Place 8-10 drops in the affected ear. Make sure that the tip of applicator doesn’t get inserted into the ear canal. Let the drops stay in your ear for 5-6 minutes by keeping your head tilted. Flush your ear using warm water and any remaining earwax will come out easily. Rubber bulb syringe allows ease of use.
Use it twice a day for not more than four days. It’s good to take your doctor’s prescription before purchasing it. Don’t forget to store Audiologists Choice Earwax Removal system in a dark place. Protect it from direct sunlight and heat. Don’t forget to check the expiry date. The product is not for people who have irritation or rash in the ear, and also not for people with ear injury or surgery, or have tube or hole in the eardrum.
Audiologists Choice Earwax Removal System is known to act fast. It costs less than $9 on popular online stores.
Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System by Doctor Easy
The design and functionality of Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System are inspired by a doctor who needed to clean his patients’ ears more efficiently, at the same time less traumatically. It is an affordable ear washer that anybody can simply use at home without clinician’s guidance. The bottle comes with a unique hose design that allows easy positioning of the washer’s stream to allow maximum and painless cleaning without hassle.
Using the spray bottle, you can provide enough water pressure to your ears too quickly and thoroughly clean your ears. It’s a great solution for those who have trouble with waxy buildup in their ear and seeking the cheapest alternative to paying a visit to a physician.
The product is designed by a physician for practical usage in an inexpensive way. The packaging includes one Elephant Ear Wash bottle and 3 disposable tips. This self-use ear irrigation kit is available for around $50 in the market. The old-fashioned and hassling ear syringe is replaced by the modern irrigation kits that are so easy to use.
Don’t use this ear irrigation wax removal method if you ever had complications with this procedure in the past, have holes or tubes in the ear, have any disorder or weak immune system, or have a perforated eardrum.
Debrox Drops Earwax Removal Aid Kit
Debrox is one of the most recommended earwax removal products by the doctors. It uses the power of a gentle and non-irritating micro-foam cleansing action to remove excessive earwax from the ear canal. Gently flush the ear with warm water and soft rubber bulb syringe that comes in the packaging. Use it twice a day or as recommended by your physician to get rid of accumulated ear wax. The product is available at many outdoor and online stores at a very reasonable price. Choose Debrox Drops Earwax Removal Aid Kit as your affordable option if you want a commercial solution to address your earwax problem.
Earwax MD Earwax Removal Kit With Rinsing Bulb
Earwax MD is a safe and clinically proven product that dissolves the hardest earwax within the first treatment. Use the product, and it will show results within 15-30 minutes. Unlike many other products, Earwax MD earwax removal uses all new ingredients. It uses a patent-pending formula and all ingredients deemed completely safe by clinical studies and FDA.
The product is dermatologists-tested and has shown no evidence of irritation on the skin. Coming to the cost, it is another cost-effective, easy to use and safe method to deal with stubborn earwax.
Production of earwax is very common and important process that happens to the person of every age. Earwax happens to be softer in children and harder in adults. However, when you notice symptoms of excessive earwax accumulation in your ear canal, it’s important to clean it.
Never use a cotton swab or ear bud to clean the wax out because it can be damaging to your eardrum. Instead of using a cotton swab or any other object, opt for the ways recommended by the medical professionals.
You can clean your ears using very common ingredients like salt, vinegar, etc. from your kitchen pantry. If home remedies fail to help, go for store-bought products and use them as directed by your physician. Whether you use home-based treatment or choose commercial products, it’s important to use it as directed by your doctor. Not all methods work for people with ear infection or surgery, or for those who have hole or tube in their eardrum.
Change your ear cleaning habits, boycott harmful objects and embrace recommended ways to maintain wax-free and clean ears.
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