Doctors and hearing professionals agree that putting anything inside your ear, especially cotton buds, is a bad idea. Ears are designed to self-clean and excess ear wax usually makes its own way out of our ears without intervention. The only reason to clean ears is to soften or remove wax from the outside of the ear canal.
Ear hygiene tips
Ear wax is properly known by the name Cerumen and it is perfectly normal for your body to produce this; indeed, it is essential for lubricating and protecting your ears. Otherwise, your ears might become itchy and dry. Ear wax has antibacterial properties and acts as a filter for your ears, naturally trapping dust and dirt so that particles do not penetrate deeper into the ear drum and cause damage.
Using cotton buds or other implements to clean your ears may push the wax deeper and cause a blockage; or more serious issues such as infection, a rupture of the eardrum and even hearing loss.
Equally, immersing your head in unclean bath water can cause ear wax to swell, blocking the ear canal and trapping water behind the wax. This dirty water then remains in the ear, encouraging bacteria to grow and possibly resulting in pain and/or infection. Similarly fungal or bacterial infections of the ear can occur following swimming, especially in the sea – which is why we advise the use of swim plugs.
It is acceptable to gently clean the outside of your ears, with a warm flannel. If you are experiencing mild symptoms of impacted earwax, you can also try using ear drops (we recommend Earol olive oil spray) to soften the wax which makes it easier for your ears to self-clean.
You should always seek professional advice from your GP or a fully trained audiologist, such as our expert practitioners at The Microsuction Company, before putting anything in your ears; and always carefully read the leaflet supplied with ear drops.
If you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of excess ear wax (see our Symptoms/FAQs page) such as a feeling of fullness in your ears, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in your ears), dizziness or vertigo, earache, itchy ears, or signs of hearing loss, you may have a blockage in one or both ears that requires professional intervention.
If you suspect you may have an ear infection it is important you contact your GP in the first instance, otherwise please do not hesitate to ask us about how microsuction can safely and effectively remove excess ear wax and improve your hearing quality.