How to clean your ears is not a straight forward process. It is complicated.
That is because the listening organs are not only delicate, but they are also not easily accessible (especially the inner parts). What’s more, there is a lot of contradictory advice out there on how to maintain their hygiene.
It is these challenges that this post seeks to help you overcome.
But before we serve you the tips on how to properly clean your ears, first things first…
Like the rest of your body, the hearing organs are subject to dirt. Most noticeable, is the dust that you encounter in your out-and-about daily activities.
But that is not the type of dirt that this post is concerned with. And it is not even the one that attracts the most confusion when how to clean out ears is the question.
The kind of ‘dirt’ that sucks the most, when you ponder how to clean your ears, is what the ears themselves produce; wax.
What is ear wax?
According to WebMD, an online publisher of human health information, it is a substance (scientifically known as Cerumen) that a special gland in the ear passage (or canal) secrets.
Contrary to what you might believe, this secretion is not body waste. On the contrary, it is a handy bodily material that performs the following critical functions in your ears:
- Traps dust before it gets into the sensitive inner parts
- Moisturizes the delicate internal tissues
- Serve as a protective cover for your inner linings.
Does that mean that removing ear wax is wrong?
Not entirely, as we will see later.
There are different types of it
The secretion from the hearing organs is not the same in color and texture for everyone. It is almost given that yours is slightly difference from that of the next person.
Also, this secretion isn’t limited to humans. Indeed, cleaning dogs ears is a common chore for pet lovers.
What causes the variance in that of the humans, though?
The following are the main culprits:
- Age-as we grow older the color and texture of the secretion changes. Kids’ is liquid in texture and orange in color while that of an adult is hard and brown.
- Environment-where we live also determines the kind of wax we produce.One research has shown that different seasons result in different types.
- Diet-different kinds of foods (or the nutrients and minerals in them) do also influence the color and texture.
- Ethnicity- A 2014research by Monell Center, a non-profit scientific institute, showed that genetics and ethnicity affect the kind of wax we produce.
- Health status-different conditions might lead to different textures and color of the secretion.
In short terms, your wax could be dark brown with traces of red. This could be a sign of a bleeding inner ear injury. White traces could mean a release of pus.
A thick dark brown or even black could be a sign that it has overstayed and needs to be taken out. Overstayed wax might serve as host to harmful germs like bacteria.
Some people don’t have ear wax at all. This is not normal, though. This is, especially, if it is an abrupt change. It is a condition that might cause itching of the inner ear because it isn’t moisturized.
This state might require you to see a doctor.
Why should we bother cleaning your hearing organs?
As we’ve seen, ear secretion is essential. It protects the underlying tender tissues. Thus, ideally, you shouldn’t remove it.
However, on the other hand, too much of it might cause problems.
The following are reasons that make learning how to get wax out of ears necessary:
- Avoiding accumulation that blocks the ear canal and impairs hearing.
- Needing to be presentable by removing wax that might be visible and thus disgusting to those around you.
- Reducing the chance of bacteria and other harmful germs growing and causing infections.
How often should we clean your ears?
If you never experience a lot of secretion, then your ears can get rid of the little you get by themselves. The wax will dry disintegrate and fall off to the outer ear where the standard body cleaning like bathing will remove.
Prof Shakeel Saeed, who works at the London’s Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, approves this theory of how to clean your ears.
He explains how an ink dot can move inside the eardrum if you wait a few weeks, and the ink mark would be ‘carried out’ by movement of cells, the professor told the BBC in a March 2014 health article.
Because of the varying amount that different people secret, it is not possible to prescribe the number of times an individual should do the cleaning of the inner parts of their listening organs.
Indeed, frequent removal might trigger more secretion.
The applicable criterion to use is to make an observation and to do the cleaning when there is too much of the secretion.
How to remove ear wax safely
A finger covered in a clean piece of clothing should be enough. Turning it on the outer part of the organ will grab all the loose wax. This is something you can do every time you are having a bath.
Where the accumulation has grown into a hard blockage, apply home or natural remedies to soften it. A few drops of mineral oil, baby oil or glycerin are often enough to do the trick. Hydrogen peroxide in the ear can also breakdown the wax.
However, if you notice blood, puss or you experience pain while cleaning; seek the attention of a medical expert.
What we shouldn’t use to clean ears
Your listening organs are very sensitive. A simple poking might break the ear drum, a severe damage.
Therefore, you shouldn’t insert hard or sharp objects like pins, pencils or even cotton swabs.
Aside from damaging the inner parts with these sharp and hard objects, you might also push the wax deeper the ear canal, which causes loss of hearing.
Indeed, if there is a lot of wax and you don’t know how to clean your ears, you should seek the services of a specialist. Doctors and general health practitioners have the needed skills and appropriate tools to clean the wax out of your ears.
Share your thoughts on ear wax cleaning. We will love to hear from you.