Although earwax plays an important part of keeping your ears clean and free of infections, it can sometimes build up in unhealthy ways. If it clogs your ear canal, you may have a hard time hearing, leading you to try at-home methods for earwax removal. The problem is that many of these methods are harmful and can cause long-term damage to your ears. Shy away from these dangerous earwax removal methods:
1. Poking Cotton Swabs Into Your Ears
Although it may seem like a cotton swab is a great way to clean out layers of earwax, it’s actually one of the worst tools you can use. The soft end will often just push earwax blockages into your ear canals, causing the earwax to harden and affect your hearing. Even worse, you may push the cotton swab in too far and puncture your eardrum.
Resist the urge to use cotton swabs to clean your ears, and just use a clean cloth on the end of your fingertip to clean your outer ear. Come in to the audiologist if you suspect earwax blockages and let a pro remove your earwax. Audiologists have specially designed tools that can hook behind earwax and gently pull it out, rather than pushing it in even farther.
2. Ear Candling
There’s horrible advice floating around that you can remove earwax with the help of a hollow, cone-shaped candle. By putting the small end in your ear and lighting the large end, proponents suggest that the flame and heat create a vacuum that pulls earwax and debris out. However, this is a very dangerous process that could push earwax in, lead to burns, or add candle wax to your earwax problem.
Never try ear candling at home. If you have a blockage, audiologists actually have gentle suction tools that can remove earwax from your ear canal safely. Because your eardrum is fragile, you don’t want to mess with suction if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
3. Irrigation with Oral Jet Irrigator
Many people try using oral jet irrigators to clean their ears by shooting streams of water into their ears. However, the pressure of the stream can puncture your eardrum or push the earwax in even farther. Plus, if you have a ruptured eardrum or tubes in your ears, you could end up with water in your middle ear.
Instead of using an oral jet irrigator, visit the audiologist, who has irrigation tools designed especially for ears. The audiologist will put a substance in your ear to soften the earwax before gently rinsing it out with an ear irrigation tool. This method is safe and effective for most people.
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