Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Clean Your Ears at Home

Mature woman cleans her ear from earwax with a cotton swab.

Putting anything in your ear is risky. You can damage the nerves in your ear canal and injure or puncture your ear drum if you stick cotton swabs in your ears. While your ears typically clean themselves, some circumstances require professional earwax removal by an audiologist.

Why Ears Produce Earwax

Also known as cerumen, earwax is produced in your inner ear to lubricate the ear canal. It has antibacterial properties that protect your ears from infection and prevent dirt, dust and debris from getting too far into the canal. Cerumen also keeps your ears moisturized. Your jaw movements help your ears naturally expel old, dry earwax, but some people find that their ears produce excess wax that’s difficult to manage. If that’s your situation, consider seeking professional assistance to clean your ears.

The Dangers of Cotton Swabs

Sticking anything into your ear can push earwax back toward your eardrum, sometimes causing it to become impacted. You can injure or rupture your eardrum if you push an object too hard into your ear, sometimes requiring surgery. Cotton swabs can also damage sensitive nerve endings, which can lead to hearing loss.

Signs You Need a Professional Ear Cleaning

  • A plugged or full sensation in your ears
  • Ear pain
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Dark-colored earwax
  • Gradual or rapid hearing loss that worsens over time
  • Discharge or a smell coming from your ears
  • Ringing in your ears

Reasons to Visit an Audiologist for Earwax Removal

Audiologists have the skill and expertise to remove impacted earwax safely. They use special tools designed to evaluate your condition and remove excess earwax. An audiologist will also provide lifestyle tips to help you manage earwax and recommend safe at-home remedies like mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide or saline solution to flush your ears.

What to Expect During Your Earwax Removal Appointment

1. Your audiologist will examine your ear canal with an otoscope to assess the severity of the impacted earwax.

2. A syringe filled with warm water or a water-saline mixture will be placed in your ear. The audiologist will flush your ear canal to soften the wax and remove it from your ears.

3. Your ears will be thoroughly cleaned and dried after the earwax removal is complete. Your audiologist may give you ointment to address possible sensitivity or discomfort.

Come to Audio Help Hearing Centers for Earwax Removal

The expert doctors of audiology at Audio Help Hearing Centers are well-versed in safe earwax removal. They will work with you to assess your symptoms and determine the best treatment. Our audiologists use warm water and a suctioning device to remove impacted earwax. Sometimes, your earwax can become so impacted or is situated so close to your eardrum that your audiologist may refer you to an ENT specialist. An ENT specialist has special tools and techniques that may be required to safely remove the earwax. Call 888-832-9966 or contact us online to schedule your earwax removal appointment.