You know, clean your ears must be done properly. Because the ear is one of the most important and sensitive organs. That is why, you must be careful when you clean your ears. So, how do you clean your ears properly?
What is Earwax?
First, let’s learn what is earwax?
Many people think that the yellow liquid inside the ear is earwax. Well, it’s not. In fact, every human will produce earwax, a substance that is slightly sticky and has a yellow color.
Earwax itself has functions to prevent infection, moisturize the ear canal, and protect the eardrum.
The sticky structure keeps foreign objects such as pollutants, insects, dirt, that enter the ear trapped so that they do not interfere with the work of the ear.
Without specifying how to clean it, the ear already has the ability to clean and remove its own wax. So, normally earwax will not block your hearing canal.
Each person produces different amounts and types of earwax, depending on genetic factors and possibly underlying health conditions.
When you chew or move your jaw while talking, the earwax will travel out, dry up and fall out on its own. Unless you use a cotton bud or other object that is inserted into the ear and ends up pushing the wax inwards.
If you keep using a tool or even putting your fingers in your ear, you are trapping the wax inside.
Is it a Good Idea to Clean Your Ears By Yourself?
According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, having less earwax left over increases the risk of infection. Earwax contains antibiotic and antifungal properties, so over-cleaning can result in ear and skin complications, including ear infections and eczema on the outside of the ear.
In general, the inner hole of the ear does not need to be cleaned. The ear has a self-cleaning mechanism. The fat and oil in the ear canal will trap any foreign particles that enter the ear and rinse them out as earwax. The earwax dissolves on its own without you even realizing it.
The skin structure in your ear canal grows like a spiral outward. Once the earwax dries up, any movement made by your jaw (chewing, talking, whatever) helps smooth the transportation of earwax from the inside to the outside of the ear canal.
During shampooing or bathing, the water that enters your ear canal dilutes the earwax, making it easier to remove.
What’s The Wrong Way to Clean Your Ears?
These are some of the mistakes that many people do when cleaning their ears:
1. Using cotton buds or other tools
There are several ways to clean your ears that are wrong but still frequently done by many people. For example, using cotton buds, ear scrapers, and even bobby pins. In fact, this way of cleaning the ears is considered dangerous. When used too deeply, cotton buds even risk getting stuck in the ear.
Actually, earwax has its own mechanism to come out of the ear without you having to scrape it using cotton buds, fingers, and even hairpins. This earwax will come out by itself in the auricle along with dust thanks to the push of the cheek muscle mechanism when you chew food.
So, you don’t need to remove the wax by scraping the ear to the middle or innermost part of the ear. You just need to clean the earlobe or the outer ear.
2. Using ear candles
The principle of how to clean your ears using ear candle therapy is to use a candle to remove earwax and other debris found inside the ear.
The therapist will insert the tip of the candle into your ear and light a flame at the other end. By using a burning flame, this way of cleaning ears is believed to “suck” the dirt – dirt contained in your ears.
Although this treatment is claimed to have many health benefits, until now there has been no research that states that this therapy is effective in cleaning earwax.
3. Cleaning your ears too often
Ears do not need to be cleaned frequently. The reason is, earwax will usually fall and come out by itself. Moreover, earwax also contains acidic substances that can prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Usually, dirt only needs to be removed only if it causes problems characterized by:
- Ear pain
- A sensation of fullness in the ear
- Ear ringing
- Bad-smelling earwax
You need to clean your earwax immediately if you have experienced these symptoms.
How to Clean Your Ears Properly?
As mentioned earlier, your ears basically have a self-cleaning mechanism, so we don’t need to clean the inside of them ourselves.
You just need to wipe the outside of the ear with soap and water, then dry it with a cloth or towel. If you have itchy ears and hearing loss, you can use ear drops or other methods to remove the earwax.
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1. Use Ear Drops
Using ear drops is one way that can help remove ear wax. However, it’s not just about dropping them in. In order for the medication to work effectively to speed up your recovery, it is important to make sure the liquid medication actually gets into the ear canal.
Some types of ear drops include hydrogen peroxide or sodium bicarbonate. These are usually sold over-the-counter at pharmacies or drug stores. Make sure you always read the instructions for use of the medicine on the package label. If you have sensitive skin and a history of ear disorders, it is better to consult a doctor first.
Here is a guide or how to clean your ears using ear drops:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Warm the ear drops package first by holding it for 1 to 2 minutes, because cold water can trigger a spinning headache when dripped into the ear.
- Unscrew the cap and place the medicine bottle in a clean and dry place, avoiding touching the mouthpiece or letting it touch anything.
- If a dropper is used, ensure that the dropper is clean and not cracked or broken.
- Tilt the head so that the ear is facing upwards and pull the earlobe upwards and backwards. The same method is also used for children.
- Take the medicine bottle and start dropping the medicine by gently massaging the bottle or dropper, dropping according to the dose of medicine given by the doctor.
- After dropping, gently pull the earlobe up and down to help the medicine flow into the ear canal.
- Keep your head tilted or remain in a sleeping position for 2 to 5 minutes while pressing on the front of your protruding ear to push the medication inward.
- Then, clean the outer ear with a wet washcloth to help remove any remaining wax that may have come out
- Afterward, wash your hands again
When you first put in the ear drops, it is not uncommon for the ear canal to feel painful and hot. However, if after administering the medication your ear becomes itchy, swollen and painful, consult a doctor immediately.
2. Use Olive Oil or Baby Oil
Earwax accumulation can occur because the inside of the ear is too dry. If you have this problem, you can moisturize the inside of your ear by using olive oil or baby oil. Simply drip a few drops of oil into the problem ear and wait for about five minutes.
The use of olive oil rarely causes allergies or irritation, but it takes a long time for the hardened earwax to soften and come out on its own. You may have to repeat this treatment several times regularly to get maximum results.
3. Do Routine Ear Checks With an ENT Doctor
Apart from the ways mentioned above, there is a best solution to clean or remove earwax. Yes, the best way to clean your ears is actually by visiting your ENT doctor for a professional ear cleaning. Or if you accidentally hurt your ear with a cotton bud and feel pain on the inside of the ear, you should also see a doctor immediately.
In general, have your ears checked by an ENT doctor regularly at least once a month or according to the doctor’s instructions. Seeing a doctor is important, especially as you get older.
Because hearing loss develops gradually, you need to make sure your ears are healthy at all times. You need to have an initial hearing test so that you can measure and take action any hearing loss you feel.