Do you sometimes feel like your ears are blocked up? If so, you are not alone. Many people also feel the same way. Most times, this is caused by the accumulation of excess wax in the ear. It not only feels uncomfortable but can make hearing a challenge.
How can you clean your ears and take care of them? In this post, we will consider some tips on ear care and cleaning.
Ear Impaction Symptoms
There are certain symptoms that reveal that your ear is impacted. Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a self-cleaning agent that the body creates. It comes with several benefits. For example, it helps to trap bacteria, debris, dirt, and other impurities. The wax leaves the ear via chewing and other movements of your jaw.
A surprisingly large number of people never accumulate enough ear wax that they need to clean their ears. However, some others do. When the ear wax heavily accumulates, it can affect your hearing. This is what is known as impaction.
Some of the things that you might experience when this happens include:
- Ear aches
- Ringing in the ear
- Affected earing
- Smelling ear
- · Dizziness
People that use hearing aids and plugs are susceptible to excess wax in the ear. It also affects seniors and differently-abled people. If you try to remove the wax with your hand, the shape of your ear canal might make it very hard.
Since the ear wax can really make you uncomfortable, you want to find ways to remove it. If the situation is rather serious, the best thing to do is to visit the physician. There they can use special instruments to remove the wax and clear any blockage from the ear.
However, if you don’t have the time to go to the doctor, there are tips that you can try out yourself to clear out the blockage and clean your ear.
How to Clean Your Ears Yourself?
This section outlines practical tips that can help you clean your ears.
1. Use a Damp Cloth
A damp cloth is a good option when trying to clean the ears. Cotton swabs might be the more popular option, but as you might have heard, it can do more bad than good for your ear. Cotton swabs can end up pushing the ear wax even further into your ear.
The only time you should use cotton swabs is when cleaning the outside part of the ear.
A damp cloth is another alternative to using cotton swabs. They should not be pushed into the ears, but they are excellent at wiping the outer area of the ear clean.
2. Ear Wax Softener
One easy solution that we have come across is earwax softeners. These are over-the-counter eardrops that help to dissolve the wax. When choosing one, ensure that it does not contain harmful ingredients. Some of what it might contain includes:
- Mineral oils
- Baby oils
The bottom line is that these softeners work to make the wax soften and dissolve into the ear. To use these, carefully follow the instructions by the manufacturer. After applying some drops into the ear, wait for some minutes before rinsing the softener out of the ear.
If you still feel discomfort after using it, then it would be prudent to consult your doctor.
You can also use a syringe to clean out your ears. In using the syringe, you will fill the syringe with water or saline solution and then rinse out the ear canal using the syringe.
This process is very effective if you start with using a wax softener some minutes before you use the syringe.
When using the solution in the ear, it is also recommended that you use warm water. Using warm water will help to prevent dizziness after cleaning the ear.
What Should You Avoid When Cleaning Ears?
The three solutions above will help you to clean your ears correctly. However, many people use dangerous methods, often without realizing that they are in danger. If you clean the ear wax in the ear with bobby pins, cotton swabs, or other things like these, you might just be pushing the wax deeper into your ear. And once the build-up is sufficient, then impaction might occur.
Therefore, doctors strongly kick against putting things inside the ear. A rule of thumb is to avoid putting anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.
Thus, avoid sharp, small options or anything that could damage the eardrums and your hearing.
Irrigating the ear is a good option for most people. However, if you have the following problems, you should avoid irrigating your ears:
- Compromised immune system
- Hole in the eardrum
- Tubes in your ear
Apart from the options that we have considered above, you should also avoid using ear candles to clean the ear. These can cause serious injury to you, including burns.
How to Protect Your Ears?
Aside from cleaning the ears, you should also look to protect them. Here are some tips on ear protection.
1. Don’t Insert Anything into the Ears
A rule of thumb to follow is that you should never insert anything into your ears. Foreign objects like pins, swabs, and others should not be inserted into the ears for cleaning. Why not? Because these can injure the ear canal, damage the eardrum, and even cause infections of the ear. When they push the wax deeper into your ears, this can cause serious troubles for you.
2. Clean the Ear Correctly
You ought to clean your ears correctly as well. Begin by washing the outer part of the ear with a clean, warm washcloth.
Cleaning internally is not really needed because the body automatically does that for itself. Anything that you do would only be to help your ears to remain clean.
If you feel any painful sensations in the ear or clogging, it is recommended that you call on an audiologist or your physician on how best to deal with the problem.
3. Schedule Regular Check-Ups
We bet you have regular medical checkups. Why not also schedule regular check-ups with your audiologist? Routinely visiting your audiologist is the safest way to ensure that nothing is wrong with the ear.
These check-ups will help you to test for things like hearing loss, and the doctor will also offer practical and helpful solutions on how you can keep your ears healthy.
4. Use Sunscreen
Yes, sunscreen can help to protect your ears and hearing. Skin care enthusiasts recommend using sunscreen whenever you are going out. Well, you should not ignore your ears. Many forget that the ears are also part of your skin. Just like the rest of the body, your ears will benefit from some sunscreen love.
If you do not apply sunscreen to the outer part of the ears, they might be burned by the sun and can develop cancerous patches. Therefore, always take time to apply sunscreen to your ears as well.
If you don’t have sunscreen, you should wear protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat that will protect the ears.
5. Protect Your Hearing
Another way to care for the ears is to do all you can to prevent hearing loss. There are several things that can make you lose your hearing, and exposing yourself to noisy environments without adequate protection is one thing.
Therefore, know the limits of your hearing and determine how loud is too loud for you. Avoid environments that are bad for your hearing. And if you cannot but be in such environments, then you should have ear protection like headphones, muffs, and earplugs handy.
Also, if you have been exposed to loud noises for a long period, then you need to care for your ears by allowing them enough time to recover. Do not sleep with headphones playing music. Research suggests that your ears require a minimum of sixteen hours of quiet to recuperate from a loud day.
6. Clean Your Hearing Aids
Some people need hearing aids, and if you are one of them, it is vital that you keep these clean. They are often in your ears, so it makes sense that they are clean all the time. Keep them in a clean environment when not in use.
7. Keep the Ears Dry
If your ears are constantly wet or have moisture, then you are creating a good home for bacteria. They can find residence and attack your ear parts – thus causing infection. Therefore, endeavor to keep the ears dry at all times. If you enjoy swimming, always towel-dry the ears after each session. If there is a watery sensation in your ear, tilt your head to the side and pull on the lobe to let the water run out.
This article has considered how to clean your ears, as well as tips on how to protect your ears and hearing. We believe that these tips will come in handy as you look to do a good job of keeping this essential part of the body safe and sound. As you carry out your skin care routine, also ensure that you also care for your ears.