How to clean your ears at home

Our ears naturally protect themselves from bacteria by producing the well-known substance ear wax. Our bodies produce this substance to trap bacteria from entering our inner ears and prevent infections. Although ear wax is meant to exit naturally, there is still a chance it can get attached to the ear. It is important to clean your ears correctly so you can remove blockages like this, in addition to not risking an ear infection. 

In this blog, we will be exploring the correct ways you can clean your ears in addition to the different steps you should avoid in order to prevent any risk of infection or making the blockage worse.  

Why is it important to clean your ears?

Although ear wax is the body’s natural defence against bacteria entering our inner ears, if left to build up inside your ear over an extended period of time it is highly likely that you will develop a blockage of ear wax. This can then lead you to suffer from mild hearing loss in addition to potential infections. This is why it is important to clean your ears occasionally, as it ensures there are no blockages in addition to preventing ear infections.

If wax has already begun to build, leaving it can cause more ear wax to build and this can end up completely blocking your ear. This then causes issues like earache, infections and moderate hearing loss. If you have noticed any of these symptoms, it might be an idea to get a hearing test as you may need microsuction. If you are unsure, here are some signs that you may need ear wax removal.

What to avoid when cleaning your ears

Although cleaning your ears may seem like a straightforward task, there are still things to avoid as they can make your blockage worse or increase the risk of infection. If things are worsened at home you may need to then book an audiology appointment for either a hearing test or ear wax removal.

One of the main things to avoid when cleaning your ears is the use of cotton buds, although cotton buds can be used on the ear externally. It is important that they aren’t inserted inside the ear. This is because the tip of the cotton bud can push wax further inside the ear, causing more wax to be trapped. Another danger from doing this is that this wax is potentially now carrying bacteria. Therefore, being pushed into the inner ear can cause risks of ear infections. Here are more reasons as to why you shouldn’t use cotton buds for cleaning inside your ears

Another important tip to remember is that, although it is recommended to clean your ears occasionally, it is important to not over-clean your ears. The whole reason ear wax is produced is to collect bacteria trying to enter our inner ears, if you consistently clean your ears then this barrier is being removed, leaving you more prone to infections. Another risk of doing this is that ear wax builds up at a faster rate when the ears are unnecessarily cleaned. Your ears recognise when there is not enough ear wax and therefore begin producing more at a faster rate when the wax has been removed and cleaned from the ear. By constantly cleaning your ears your body will start producing more and more wax which could lead to ear irritation or a potential blockage. This could then lead to microsuction as an alternative solution. 

Recommended cleaning techniques

Although there are things to avoid when cleaning your ears there are also methods you can use to make cleaning your ears easy and safe. One of the easiest and most effective ways you can clean your ears is simply by using warm water and a towel. 

Start by rinsing the towel with warm water and then applying around and inside the ear. Make sure you clean well, but don’t forget to thoroughly dry your ears afterwards. Leftover water residue can allow bacteria to grow and cause ear infections. If you find you are prone to ear infections and would like to read through more hearing care tips for preventing future ear infections, click on the link to read through our blog with more information.

If you want to further your cleaning, you can apply a few drops of baby oil into your ears beforehand.. If you apply baby oil a day in advance of your cleaning, it will break down the ear wax. Making it softer and easier to remove, this will shorten your cleaning time and you won’t have to worry about using too much water. 

If you are still finding an issue with either your hearing or if you are struggling with ear irritation then it might be time to book a hearing test. Here one of our audiologists can determine whether the problem is due to a blockage of ear wax or hearing loss. Once the issue has been found, we can find the best solution for you.

Book an ear wax removal appointment

If you find you are still suffering from ear irritation after following our cleaning techniques, and believe it is due to a blockage of ear wax. We highly recommend that you book an ear wax removal appointment as soon as possible. If you leave this irritation it could worsen and cause further damage, ear infections could lead to possible hearing loss. So it is advised to at least have your ears checked if you are finding any problems. Book an appointment with us today for either a hearing test or ear wax removal appointment by clicking the link. Or call us at 0800 781 0422.