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3 Ear-Cleaning Methods to Avoid

Woman with Hand to Ear

Ear cleaning at home is something that many misinformed people do daily. However, attempting to perform ear-cleaning remedies alone can be very dangerous, for reasons we’ll go into in this article. Even visiting a salon or spa for an ear cleaning procedure can cause problems, whether performed by a seasoned professional or not.

Below are the three ear cleaning methods to avoid if you want healthy ears.

Ear candling

Ear candling is becoming a popular treatment at salons and spas, and some are even attempting to perform it themselves at home. However, it has obscure origins, and there’s no proof that it actually does anything. In fact, there’s more evidence to suggest that ear candling is dangerous and can cause more issues in the long run.

Using a candle placed inside of the ear, the smoke or burning wick is said to cause pressure inside of the ear and help to remove wax buildup. However, there are several dangers with this. The negative pressure needed to pull wax from the canal would have to be so powerful that it would rupture the eardrum in the process - so scientifically, this process could never work. Candling does not create a vacuum. Candle wax was actually deposited inside the ear in many treatments; an increase was found in many people who were studied afterward.

Then, there are the cases of external burns, ear canal obstruction with candle wax, and perforated eardrums. Some even have to go for emergency surgery to fix issues that candling has caused. Hearing loss can be found in severe cases.

Cotton swabs

Cotton swabs can be found in every home, and although they can be used for things like makeup removal, they should never be used for ear cleaning.

We all have a fairly short ear canal, and many people overestimate the length. This makes using cotton swabs very dangerous. Using a cotton swab can cause abrasions and lead to infections, due to the sensitive tissue inside of the ear. Using them regularly can be even worse. You may push wax deeper into the canal, although it can appear on the swab that you have removed wax. It is not necessary to do this, as the ear will clean out most wax buildup alone.

OTC remedies

Over-the-counter remedies can be extremely dangerous when used incorrectly. The very best you can hope for is them not working at all. Visiting an audiologist is the best way to assess whether your ears need to be cleaned, and then have them cleaned out safely and effectively.

Avoid the above ear-cleaning methods and visit an audiologist if you feel you have an issue with your ears or wax buildup.