It can’t be denied that there is something incredibly satisfying about sticking a q-tip into our ears and giving it a good old scrub. But as oddly therapeutic as it might be, did you know that you’re actually doing far more harm than good? For anyone who has made this into a regular habit, here’s how you should be cleaning your ears or if you should at all.
How is your hearing
The first thing to do is take a free online hearing test to figure out if your hearing is really as bad as you think it is. Nine times out of ten you might actually be surprised how good your hearing is, as sometimes we can assume our ears are clogged up when they are really completely healthy. If your hearing is not the best, however, you might want to do a little more digging (though not in your ear).
Why do ears make earwax?
While it might be unpleasant to look at (and even think about) earwax is there for a reason. It not only keeps your inner ear from drying out but also traps dirt and stops harmful bacteria and gets ear wax removal. Your ears should be self-cleaning and earwax should be making its way to the outer ear naturally.
The wrong way to clean your ears
By sticking a q-tip into your ear, you’re actually likely to be pushing the wax keeping in, which can prevent the ear from naturally cleaning itself and lead to a larger build-up. Not only that, but if you push a q-tip too far into your ear you might end up damaging your eardrum. And a ruptured eardrum is incredibly painful. Ear candles are a similarly nasty invention that does more harm than good.
The right way to clean your ears
Of course, while earwax can be helpful it can also be a burden. If your ears have become blocked with earwax that won’t shift and your hearing is compromised then the first thing you should do is seek medical attention.
If you are unable to seek medical attention, however, there are harmless steps you can take to mitigate the problems and clean your ears properly:-
- Soak a cloth in hot water, place it in a bowl and then rest your affected ear over the bowl. The steam should help the wax soften.
- Heat a few drops of olive oil in the microwave and let it cool down so it is only lukewarm. Then, place a few drops of the oil in the affected ear and leave it to dissolve the wax.
- An over-the-counter ear cleaning product will work similarly to the olive oil but might work faster.