A rule of thumb we like to preach to our patients about cleaning their ears is: DO NOT INSERT ANY FOREIGN OBJECTS. Unless you are a trained professional, with the proper equipment, it is nearly impossible to adequately clean your ears by this method. Many of us immediately associate a Q-tip as a tool used to clean our ears. This is something we all must untrain ourselves to do. It can be a very dangerous practice and often leads to damaging our hearing. This is because a cotton swab (or Q-tip) is too wide to pull the wax out of our ear canals and instead pushes the wax further back to our ear drum. This, in turn, makes our hearing worse because sound has a decreased passage way to our ear drum, a membrane of the middle ear that vibrates in response to sound waves.
If you are not able to see a professional for your wax issues, we suggest you try this method instead:
Wax Softening Drops – Often found at your local pharmacy, these drops will be placed into each of your ears, nightly, for the duration that is recommended on the instructions. After letting the drops sit in your ear for about 5-10 minutes, flush it out with warm water. Overtime, the wax will substantially decrease and you should notice a better sense of hearing. We recommend the brand “Debrox” as a reliable wax softening solution to use.
It is important to keep in mind that ear wax is a natural substance your body produces to protect your ears from foreign objects. So it shouldn’t be looked at as a bad thing if you find a small amount in your ears. In fact, over cleaning your ears can leave them dry and itchy, creating a new problem entirely. For those of you who produce a large amount of wax, seeing a trained professional may be your best recourse. The most important point to keep in mind is to make sure you do not stick any bobby pins, pencils, pens or even Q-tips into your ears because this is a practice that never ends up to be successful.