Ear wax removal: How to clean your ears

Doctor explains how to safely remove ear wax

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Earwax, scientifically known as cerumen, is technically just skin cells that have fallen off inside the ear, bits of hair and secretion from the ceruminous glands mixed together. Although earwax is beneficial to your ears, most people see removing their earwax as a form of grooming. Express.co.uk reveals the ins and outs of cleaning your ears.

Some people have more noticeable earwax than others, causing them to remove their earwax with a cotton swab.

You may feel obligated to remove your earwax if, like most people of European or African descent, it is sticky, yellow or brown in colour and has an odour.

Other things such as the amount of hair or width of your canals, your age, or whether you wear a hearing aid or earplugs, can determine how much earwax you have.

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Earwax is only a problem if your ears become blocked with earwax.

If this happens, you might have symptoms such as earache, difficulty hearing, itchiness, dizziness, ear infections, and tinnitus.

If this is the case, you need to see your GP about having the wax flushed or sucked out privately.

How to clean your ears

If your ears aren’t blocked with wax, earwax is beneficial for your health because it lubricates your ear canal and prevents your ears from becoming dry and itchy.

You don’t need to remove your earwax because it cleans up after itself.

According to the Hearing Loss Association, whenever you chew or move your jaw, you keep your earwax churning slowly from the eardrum to the ear opening.

When the wax reaches the opening, it will dry up, flake off or fall out when it is ready.

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Cotton swabs aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re also bad for your ears.

Never stick anything like this into your ears in an attempt to clean your ears because this is unnecessary and may make the situation worse.

You will push the wax further into your ear where it can become blocked and cause the symptoms mentioned above.

This will also increase earwax buildup because the wax will not be able to leave the ear canal.

You may have heard about ear candling, where you have a cone-shaped candle inserted into the ear canal and then lit.

The aim is to soften and suction out the wax, but some experts say this can cause burns, blockage and puncture your eardrums.

If you think your earwax is a cause for concern or you want to reduce it, you should talk to your doctor or a specialist about your options.

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