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There are three main ways you can damage your ears while attempting to clean them out. We discuss those ways in this article. While unsightly and uncomfortable when built up, earwax is a huge part of the health of your ears, offering critical protection against intruders such as debris and bacteria into the ear canal. When you upset this delicate environment, you’re inviting trouble in the form of earwax impaction and even short-term hearing loss. Whether you do it with a cotton swab, tissue or your pinky finger, removing earwax in this way can prove dangerous. It’s always a smart idea to let a qualified professional handle this task.

Ear Candling

Perhaps you’ve heard of this. Ear candling, something people have been doing for centuries, brings with it an inherent danger that can cause burns to your clothing, skin and hair. When you place these long tapered candles into your ear, you’re attempting to encourage a vacuum seal that in effect pulls out the accumulated earwax. The hollow tubes, made of a wax-coated material, have a very long wick. Due to a lack of sufficient suction, though, it can become ineffective and pose burn risks as well as the chance of eardrum puncture.

Ear Drops

Simple ear drops marketed toward people who want to drain out earwax can be ineffective as well as damaging. While you can certainly find these products at many drug stores, this doesn’t mean you should use them as an effective measure. This method isn’t effective for everyone because of the differences in the composition of individuals’ earwax. Also, ear canal shapes vary from person to person so no one product will work for all people. Instilling tiny drops of liquid into the ear can break up the wax and encourage it to flow out when the head is tilted, but the promises sound much better than reality.

Cotton Swabs

While this is one measure you can take to get the wax out of your ears, its safety has been disputed for many years. The simple cotton swab has gotten a bad rap lately in regards to ear care and for good reason. While people may feel they’re cleaning out their ears and getting all the wax, they’re actually sending a lot of it into the ear canal. This poses a danger that could lead to earwax impaction and eventually hearing loss, not to mention pain in the ear when you go too far.

A Doctor is the Best Bet When Seeking Clean Ears

In your quest to get super clean ears, seek out a professional audiologist trained in all aspects of the ear and its inner workings. Don’t risk hearing loss and impaction at home; instead, go to a trained professional who can use proven, safe tools to remove the accumulated earwax. While you’re there, you’ll also get a full exam of your ear drum and canal that can see if any damage has been done. Don’t forget to schedule another appointment to maintain ear care and keep the wax at bay.