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Ear wax can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, so most people decide to take matters into their own hands and remove it with cotton swabs, paper towel bits and even pinky fingers. However, ear wax serves a critical function in the health of your ear canal, although it can build up and cause hearing loss to some degree. If you remove it on your own every day, you could be doing irreversible harm by doing so. In fact, this cleaning technique is actually harming your ears, and we explore why in this article. We also tell you why a professional cleaning is the best course of action.

Ear Drops

Available at the drug store, ear drops can seem harmless but think twice. These products are designed to keep earwax from getting to an unacceptable level, and you may even use them on a regular basis. All you have to do is drip the liquid into each ear, then tilt your head till the liquid – and earwax – comes flowing out. However, everyone has different sizes and orientations of ear canals, making it difficult to rely on predictable results each and every time. These differences in earwax composition can be detrimental to your hearing.

Ear Candle

Ear candling is a dangerous way to attempt earwax removal. These candles, comprised of certain kinds of fabric coated with wax, feature a long wick. When you light the wick, a vacuum is created in the ear through the heat coming from the flame. Although it can draw out the offending earwax, not enough suction is generated, leaving this method an ineffective and dangerous one. You could be burned from the wax or the flame, and even catch your hair and clothes on fire.

Cotton Swabs

Cotton swabs, touted as a great way to clean out wax from ears, is actually quite a dangerous proposition because you risk damaging your sensitive ear canal. Even though you may enjoy cleaning your ears like this after a long shower, leaving you feeling cleaner, you’re hurting yourself and causing future pain. Sticking a cotton swab in your ear can remove the outer layer of wax, but it actually pushes the rest of the wax into the ear further. You not only risk impaction when you do this, but also hearing loss as well.

See a Professional for Ear Care

A professional audiologist is your best bet when you want to maintain regular cleaning of your ears. They are not only trained in the use of a variety of safe tools, but they also have the experience necessary to safely and quickly clean out the accumulated ear wax. You’ll not only feel cleaner but you’ll be able to hear better as well.  You can also undergo an eardrum exam to ensure no damage has been done up to that point. Make an appointment now to see the doctor again for regular ear maintenance.