How to Clean Your Ears: Good Habits to Adopt

Thursday, 15th June 2017

How to Clean Your Ears: Good Habits to Adopt

Cleaning your ears regularly is obviously an important thing to do, since the ears are advanced, sensitive organs that are essential for our hearing as well as our balance. However, there are a lot of rumours floating around out there about this subject, and you may not really know the right habits to adopt to take care of this vital part of your body.


Cleaning the outside of your ears


Cleaning the outside of your ears involves the auricle (the visible part of the ear) and the external auditory canal. You should clean your ears around 3 times a week so you don’t disrupt the natural cleaning function of your ears. To clean your ears properly, you can use cotton swabs by gently moving over the entire external part of the ear (without pushing too deep so as not to damage the eardrum) or one of your fingers wetted with soapy water, only to clean the auricle. Make sure that you never put one of your fingers inside the ear canal! You can also rinse the outer part of your ear by tilting your head to the side, then wiping it very gently with a soft towel. Finally, you can find specialty products at the pharmacy to help you wash your ears if the previous techniques aren’t suitable. All these cleaning solutions are possible, so it’s ultimately up to each person to choose the one that suits them the best. Some people have ears that are so sensitive that cotton swabs can cause irritation and discomfort in their ears.


Don’t clean your ears too vigorously


Generally speaking, the people who are the most manic, as well as those who like to take care of them, tend to want to clean their ears in an exaggerated way so they don’t see any earwax residue inside. However, it’s important to note that, even though earwax isn’t very attractive, it’s very useful for keeping your ears healthy. This waxy, yellowish substance, which is naturally secreted by the auditory canal, serves as a protective lubricant for the walls of the ear canal and the eardrum. It protects the ears from foreign objects (bacteria, dust, insects, etc.) and forms a sort of barrier that prevents otitis externa, among other things. Since earwax usually cleans itself on its own, getting rid of it can therefore lead to situations that are dangerous for your ears.


In case of an earwax blockage


Sometimes, the natural cleaning function of the earwax is altered or, for various reasons, the earwax builds up and forms little clumps that harden. This may occur in elderly people, due to wearing a hearing aid or earplugs, in the case of an overly narrow ear canal, due to the presence of an excessive amount of hair, or because of a foreign object in the ear. The presence of an earwax blockage can cause certain symptoms, such as the feeling of a blocked ear, irritation or itching, pain, ringing in the ears, dizziness, a cough, and partial hearing loss. In case of pain, fever, dizziness, or hearing loss, it’s strongly recommended to consult an audiologist or an ENT as soon as possible so they can intervene to get the situation under control before it gets any worse. In other cases, you can also clean the inner ear yourself using agents that will soften the blockage in order to break it up. The agents in question include glycerin and mineral oils, which appear in special solutions sold at the pharmacy. You can also ask your pharmacist for advice on how to clean your ears properly.


In conclusion, cleaning the outside of your ears regularly several times a week is sufficient to ensure that the health of this vital organ is maintained. Only signs of the presence of an earwax blockage require deeper cleaning, which can be performed by an audiologist or an ENT.


* The hearing aids illustrated on this page may not fit your needs. An evaluation by an Audioprosthetist is required to determine the type of aid best suited for your type of hearing loss.