Safe Ways to Remove Earwax
We’ve all heard the old adage that you should never stick anything in your ear bigger than your elbow, and yet there are plenty amongst us that religiously use cotton buds to clean our ears and even those of our children.
While biodegradable cotton buds are a great alternative to plastic stemmed cotton buds for all sorts of uses there are arguments to suggest you shouldn’t be sticking them in your ears.
Poking a cotton bud into your ear canal can actually push wax further into the ear causing a blockage and stopping the natural process that works something like a conveyor belt to slowly move wax out of the ear. If you push a cotton bud in too far not only can you cause a blockage which could affect hearing but you can even puncture your eardrum, an incredibly painful experience that can have long term effects and is most certainly best avoided.
So if cotton buds are best left for touching up your makeup, what are safer alternatives for removing ear wax?
Do You Need to Remove Ear Wax At All?
Before we look at safe ways to remove ear wax it is worth considering whether or not you need to be removing the ear wax at all. Ear wax is a substance naturally produced by the body that has the function of protecting your ears. It is slightly acidic which helps to prevent infections and it helps to create a protective barrier for the delicate skin inside your ears.
Having ear wax is actually a good thing and helps to prevent lots of much worse things.
Your body has a natural process for removing excess ear wax, gently pushing it out of the ear where it is easily cleaned away without the need for anything to actually go into your ear, and even if you do get a build up of wax in the ear the likelihood is it won’t have any negative effects.
There are some instances where excessive build up of wax can occur and you might feel like your ears need a little help with the cleaning. With that in mind here are a few safe alternatives.
Safe Alternatives to Cotton Buds for Removing Ear Wax
One simple method for removing excess ear wax safely is to just use your pinky finger wrapped in a bit of tissue. This method is great for getting any wax that the body has already pushed to the outer ear and anything that would be visible in the ear canal, and your finger is much bigger than a cotton bud so you won’t be able to push it in far enough to damage your eardrum. For best results with this method do it when you have just got out of the shower as the warm water will loosen the wax.
A warm damp cloth works just as well for this method and you can do this at any time.
Another way to remove wax is to use olive oil. This is a great gentle home remedy if you have a build up of excess wax as it is gentle and you probably already have the olive oil. Simply drip two or three drops of olive oil into your ear while lying on one side and stay in that position for as long as you can to let it do its job then turn over and let the first ear drain onto a towel or tissue while you treat the other ear.
Try to avoid the temptation to stick a cotton bud in your ear to get rid of any lingering oil, and perhaps pop a towel on your pillow in case any ear wax or oil comes out at night.
Finally if you are really concerned about a build up of wax and it is uncomfortable or affecting your hearing then you can seek advice from your doctor.
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