You Shouldn't Use Cotton Buds To Clean Your Ears, So How Do You Get Rid Of Earwax?
There are certain rituals you’ve grown up with that they’ve become second nature. Take cleaning your ears, for example. You’ve grown accustomed to using a cotton bud to fish out sticky, sometimes crusty earwax. With a bud, not only do your ears become clean, they feel clean, too—and anyone who’s cleaned their ears with cotton buds knows exactly what we mean when we say they’re just so damn satisfying.
Cotton Buds Are Not Your Buds
Here’s the thing, though: We’re not actually supposed to be cleaning our ears with these buds. In fact, we’re not supposed to put anything into our ear canals at all. When foreign objects such as cotton buds are inserted into the ear canal, they can actually push the ear wax even deeper, instead of removing them as intended.
Your ears are self-cleaning organs, which means you most likely never have to do much cleaning, because they can sort themselves out. Earwax usually works its way out of your ears through motions that make use of your jaw, such as chewing.
But what is earwax anyway? Cerumen or earwax, which is produced by the ear, acts as a lubricant that collects dirt, bacteria, and debris. It essentially stops these materials from entering the ear canal. It also prevents ear infections and keeps ears from getting dry and itchy.
However, even if your ears are self-cleaning, earwax buildup is definitely possible. These are characterized by the following symptoms: difficulty hearing, fullness or ringing in the ears, pain, dizziness, and odor.
Before you pick up a cotton bud, here are better ways to deal with a stuffy ear.
1| Keep it simple
We’re referring to your routine. A no-frills ear-cleaning regimen includes scrubbing your ears gently, with a washcloth, soap, and water, to avoid dirt buildup. Remember to only wash around the exterior, and not to push anything into the canal. If you have water in your ears after washing, don’t fret. It will find its way out.
2| Chew on gum
The most basic way to take care of excess earwax is to keep your jaw moving. Normal everyday motions, such as talking and eating, usually lead to this, but if you need more help in a particularly sticky situation, chew on gum. The repetitive motion will ease out earwax.
3| Talk to your doctor
If all else fails, it’s time to consult your doctor about a treatment. He may prescribe eardrops, the most common of which is carbamide peroxide. And though you could probably drop the drops yourself, it’s still best to check with the doc to ensure you won't do any harm to your ears.
4| Let's irrigate
Another common earwax removal procedure is irrigation: A stream of warm water and diluted hydrogen peroxide is flushed into the ear to wash out the canal. Home kits are available, but as we said, leave procedures to the pros.