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Advice for Proper Ear Hygiene

29. August 2017.

The most frequent ear problems, i.e. muffled hearing, water in the ear canal, humming, inflammation and similar, are caused by cleaning the ears either too often or the wrong way. Earwax, also known as cerumen, is produced by our ears as protection from the excessive accumulation of bacteria, fungus, as well as dust particles, dirt, and water. In short, earwax has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects on our ears. It also lubricates the ear canal, maintaining the softness of the skin of both the outer and the inner ear, preventing itching and dryness.

Earwax is Body’s Natural Protection

Earwax is usually discharged from the ears on its own, triggered by the movements of our jaw while talking, chewing, or yawning. Most people do not have to clean their ears, except when taking a shower, after which it’s enough to gently towel the outer parts of the ear to remove excess water.

Say No to Cotton Swabs!

Avoid cotton swabs at all cost! No matter how careful you are, you will still push the earwax deeper into the ear, which interferes with the vibrations of your eardrum, can lead to the ear canal getting clogged, and allows bacteria and fungus to more easily penetrate the ear canal and skin. In the end, people using cotton swabs are only inducing their glands to produce more of it. Don’t flirt with painful ear infections and antibiotics, simply avoid cotton swabs. Besides, read the warning label on the cotton swab package: the manufacturer is legally bound to warn you that the swabs shouldn’t be inserted into the ear. So much for that.

Earwax Buildup

Each person’s ears have a unique shape and so some people have problems cleaning their ears, either naturally or when showering, because larger accumulations of ear wax can make some sections of the ear less accessible. Symptoms of earwax buildup include hearing problems, ringing in the ears or the feeling the ear is covered, pain in the ear, smelly discharges or vertigo.

People who use hearing aids often have earwax buildup since the hearing aid does not allow for a natural discharge of earwax during the day. Also, the elderly simply have more earwax, an effect of the aging processes. If you suspect earwax buildup, see your family doctor for advice and possibly ear irrigation.

Also, there are very safe methods for removing earwax at home. You can get drops or sprays for it at your pharmacy. Again, these are to be used only if you’ve been diagnosed with earwax buildup


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