That waxy brown substance in your ear can be annoying, but it plays a key role in your ear’s health. However, too much of it can cause hearing difficulties, and you might be tempted to remove it. Earwax removal requires a delicate touch and a few things to keep in mind to prevent injury.
Earwax, or cerumen, is medically useful despite its appearance. It allows your ears to “self-clean” and contains antibacterial properties that can help against infections. In addition, its waxy composition helps to moisturize the ear canal and become a barrier to protect the eardrum.
With that said, too much earwax can cause infection, earaches, and hearing loss. When you’re attempting to remove your earwax:
The outside of your ears might have some excessive earwax, so the easiest remedy without having to enter the ear canal is to gently wash your ears with a washcloth.
Putting anything into your ear canal runs the risk of pushing earwax further down at best and additional damage at worst. Q-tips are designed to clean the outside of the year and using it for earwax removal could lead to eardrum puncture.
Dr. Nicholas Stowell, a CEENTA otolaryngologist from our Concord office, sums it up succinctly, "Don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.”
Some over-the-counter products can be used to loosen up earwax and help with removal, such as Debrox. Be careful with "home" remedies as the ear canal skin is sensitive and can be easily irritated. This, combined with tilting your head to allow gravity to assist, can be helpful.
One method growing in popularity is ear candling, which involves inserting a hollow candle made of fabric and wax into your ear canal and lighting the end to “suction” the earwax out. This method has been criticized for being ineffective along with increasing your risk for puncture injury and burns.
If excessive earwax is limiting your hearing and home removal remedies aren’t working, it’s time to turn your ears to CEENTA. Our otolaryngologists understand the intricate layout of your ears and can help remove earwax in a safe, reliable method. Schedule your next ear appointment with Dr. Stowell at our Concord location for better hearing and health.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.
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