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Is Ear Cleaning Necessary?

Hand to Ear

Ear cleaning is something that many people take upon themselves to do at home. Most commonly, you’ll find cotton swabs used for this, or even over the counter remedies. In some cases, ear candling is used, as it claims to create pressure inside of the ear and remove excess wax. People who use these treatments are, unfortunately, misinformed.

Home treatments like the above rarely work for ear cleaning. They can actually be dangerous. Cotton swabs can push wax deeper into the ear, as well as cause abrasions with long-term use. The tissue inside the ear is sensitive and should not be rubbed continuously.

Over-the-counter remedies can vary, but can be equally as dangerous. Then there’s ear candling, which is potentially the most dangerous of all. There are reports of the procedure causing issues with hearing, requiring surgery, and actually depositing more wax into the ear than removing it. The treatment scientifically cannot work, as there is no way it can cause a vacuum inside of the ear.

There are much safer ways you can clean your ears if you feel you have a build up of wax, but is ear cleaning really necessary for healthy ears? We go into more detail below.

Is ear cleaning necessary?

The short answer is yes and no. The ear tends to naturally clear out excess wax on its own while you sleep. This means there’s no need to purchase cotton swabs for the purpose of rummaging around in the ear. That being said, sometimes, an excess of wax may be felt in the ear. So what should you do? The safest way to remedy this is in the shower. Water naturally goes into the ears in the shower and afterward, you can gently use a soft cloth to dry and clean the ears.

Cotton swabs can be used to safely clean the outer part of the ear, but using them on the inner part of the ear is not recommended.

If you feel that you have an issue with your ears, such as built up wax, your local hearing care provider can take a look for you and determine what the problem is. They will then be able to use a safe, effective method for removing the wax.

The only way to safely and effectively clean out your ears is to visit a hearing health professional. They will expertly examine the ear and determine the cause of your issues. For the most part, you will not need to clean your ears at home and should avoid the things mentioned in this article.