Earwax serves several essential functions. It keeps our ears from drying out or becoming irritated and itchy. It also captures dust or other pieces of debris that waft into our ear canals.

Essentially, it protects our ears from infection by catching the debris and bacteria that could lead to problems.

The Best and Worst Ways to Clean Your Ears

Regardless of the helpful function of earwax, our world does not see its beauty. The image of thick wax lining a toddler‘s ear ruins his otherwise adorableness. Plus, it compromises hearing.

Here are some ways that will allow you to listen up by cleaning out your wax rather than damaging your ears.

Listen Up: How to Clean

Start this process. Use a warm washcloth. Warmth will help soften your earwax, allowing your ear to drain it naturally. Just wet a washcloth with warm water, and then clean the outside of your ear.

Once you’ve washed the outside of your ear thoroughly, dry it with a soft, dry cloth. Do this regularly to keep your ears clean.

If a washcloth does not do the trick, try ear drops. You can find over-the-counter ear drops that will loosen and soften ear wax, making it easier to remove.

Earwax buildup happens because you’re not cleaning your ears regularly. So start with some simple maintenance.

If this doesn’t work, see a professional. An ENT or ear-nose-throat specialist will have techniques such as an ear lavage to get rid of the wax. The doctor will also determine if you have extra wax and why you have extra wax.

Techniques to Avoid

You’ve most likely heard this a dozen times, but do not use q-tips to remove ear wax. Use cotton swabs for the outside of your ear, but do not jam them into your ear canal.

A single cotton swab can damage your eardrum or push earwax down further. You will end up with a bigger problem than what you started with.

Avoid using candle wax as well. Some individuals who believe strongly in homeopathic medicine will attempt to clean their ears out using ear candles.

Ear candling occurs when you take a specialized ear candle, put it outside your ear, and then light it. The flame is supposed to draw the wax out of your ear. However, if you think about it, you’re lighting something on fire that is attached to your ear.

You have a great chance of getting injured with both candling and q-tips.

Stay Tuned, Protect Your Ears

Cotton swabs and q-tips seem like the most logical way to scrape unwanted wax from your ear canal. But the experts ask people to listen up and recognize they can cause more ear pain and problems.

Stay patient as you clean your ears. Make ear cleaning a regular part of your nightly routine. You will see your wax begin to thin and your hearing improve.

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