How to Wash Your Ears If You Don’t Have to Use Cotton Swabs
Putting a cotton swab in your ear is a terrible way to clean it , as the swab can remove some of the earwax, but it tends to push the residue deeper. But if you’re in the habit of flip flops, it can be hard to get rid of. Here’s what you should do instead.
You don’t actually need to clean your ears. Believe it or not, the ears are self-cleaning. The mucus moves outward, aided by the movement of your jaw as you chew and speak. Fine! This means that pieces of brown or yellow earwax will sometimes be visible at the entrance to your ear canal. If they are noticeable, you can wipe them down with a tissue, a damp rag, or even … well, you can technically use a cotton swab. But maybe it’s best not to tempt yourself.
Use a few drops
If you really feel like you somehow have too much earwax, there are ways outside of cotton swabs. The easiest way is to put a few drops of mineral oil, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, or over-the-counter cleansing drops into your ear. Wait a minute or two and then tilt your ear down. A slightly softened, slightly liquefied earwax may come out. Dry with a tissue. Too rude? Remember, “Just don’t do it” is always an option.
Ask your doctor
If you are certain that you have too much earwax, for example, so much that your ear seems blocked and your hearing is impaired, it is best to seek help. Your PCP can examine your ears and can help you figure out if earwax is really your problem or if you might have something else, such as an ear infection. If you are already seeing an audiologist or ear, nose, and throat specialist, they can help you too.
If your problem is truly related to a blocked earwax, your doctor may be able to remove it. They can do an office lavage using earwax softening drops and then using wax remover. (Fun fact: Doctors call earwax. It’s not actually wax.) Or, they may recommend a homemade earwax rinse kit that you can buy over the counter. It is also possible to get a procedure that removes the earwax plug with a camera and tools that arefun to watch if you areinto these kinds of things.
If you’re still wondering how earwax can block your ears and what to do about it, you might want to read these American Academy of Otolaryngology guidelines , which teach doctors best practices for dealing with damaged earwax. On their list of recommendations: Advise patients to stop putting cotton swabs in their ears . You are welcome.