Many of us like it, find it repulsive. But the truth is that the cerumen of the ears is a natural secretion with an essential function, and cleaning it is not something that should be taken lightly.
But before giving us his verdict, he clarifies that cerumen is a substance produced by the glands inside the ear and that it has several functions:
It helps to keep our ears healthy and clean. It prevents the lines lining the ear canals from drying out and cracking.
How to Clean Your Ears Safely at Home
Protects the ear from dirt and repels water, which helps stop infections. Most of the time, our auditory canals cleanse themselves.
As we talk, we chew and move our jaws, wax and skin cells move slowly from the eardrum to the ear orifice, where they usually dry out and fall.
Earwax usually does not cause problems, but if it occurs in excess it can cause a blockage that can cause pain or cause hearing loss.
There are a lot of products on sale that promise to clean your ears or remove wax from your ears, but what helps?
Using Cotton Swab to Clean Ears at Home
Problems often arise when we try to clean our ears with our finger or, even worse, with a cotton swab. The cotton swab labels warn that they should not be used to clean the ear canal. Although many people use them for that purpose, the companies that make them recommend not using them in the ear canal.
The next time you’re tempted to use one of your utensils, which at first glance looks innocuous, take a look at the package label.
You will probably find a warning that cotton swabs “should not be inserted into the ear canal.”
When we use them, what we end up doing is pushing the cerumen towards the depth of the ear, which makes it stick to the parts that can not clean themselves.
Ear wax may also contain bacteria from the outside of the ear, which can cause an infection.
Removing cerumen with a swab can irritate the skin of the ear, which can cause people to tend to touch that part even more. That can turn into a vicious cycle.
In some cases, if the swab is inserted too deep, there is a risk of perforating the eardrum, which can cause sudden pain, bleeding and a temporary loss of hearing.
Candle ear wax removal
The candles for the ears are marketed as a simple solution for those who want to get rid of cerumen. However, using candles for the ear can cause burns on that organ and the skin. The technique involves placing a lit candle, long and thin, inside a cone with a hole and positioning it inside the ear.
It is supposed to extract cerumen and other impurities. However, it was discovered, after a candle has been lit, a deposit of wax will accumulate in the center of it, even if it has not been near the ear. The explanation is that the wax comes from inside the candle.
Research has shown that ear candles are not effective in removing cerumen and represent a danger.
It can cause burns to the ear and face, can leave wax in the canal and can also damage the eardrum.
Ear drops for Cleaning Ear Wax
Many people use ear drops as the number one option to remove cerumen. These can soften or loosen the cerumen and allow it to follow its natural course. The use of cotton swabs to clean earwax can irritate the skin of the ear. There are many drops in the market. Among the active ingredients they contain are hydrogen peroxide, sodium bicarbonate or sodium chloride.
Although the drops could be effective, they can cause irritation in people with sensitive skin.
In contrast, drops of olive and almond oils seem to be as effective as other expensive commercial products. If you want to try olive or almond oils to soften the ear wax, we recommend that you warm up the oil of your predilection (until you reach your body temperature) and lie on your side.
Use a dropper to apply a few drops of oil to your ear and stay in that position for 5-10 minutes.
It is very unlikely that olive oil causes irritation in your ear, but it takes a long time to have an effect on the earwax. It may be necessary to repeat the procedure two or three times a day for three to five days to soften the accumulated wax.
Irrigate the ear to clean Ear
If you are the person who produces cerumen in excess, it would be advisable to tell your doctor. If you have a persistent problem with cerumen, your doctor may recommend irrigating your ear, a procedure also known as syringe washing.
This technique involves using a tool that throws a jet of water into the ear canal to remove the wax.
However, although this method could remove it, it can in some cases be painful and even damage the eardrum.
Using Microsuction for Cleaning Ear
Some clinics can perform a microsuction to remove cerumen.
In this procedure, the specialist will use a microscope to see inside the ear and a tiny device will aspirate the earwax.
This technique can be very safe and effective to eliminate persistent blocks.