What is ear wax?
Your external ear naturally produces oil and sheds skin tissue. Ear wax is the mixture of your body’s natural skin oils and dead tissue. Some people produce more of it than others. While ear wax helps protect the delicate lining of your ear canal, excessive build-up over time may lead to blockage, hearing loss and the attraction of dirt, resulting in poor ear hygiene.
- Use clean hands to insert and remove earplugs.
- Clean your outer ear by gently washing it with a washcloth and warm water.
- Safely remove excess ear wax using over-the-counter ear wax removal solutions.
- Visit your ear, nose, throat (ENT) or otology physician for more extensive ear wax removal treatments or if you are experiencing ear pain, inflammation, blockage or hearing loss.
- Use a cotton swab inside your ear canal. Why? A cotton swab can actually damage the tissue lining of your ear canal or puncture your ear drum (tympanic membrane). It can also dry and irritate the ear canal, creating an itching sensation for some people. Cotton swab usage inside the ear canal may actually plunge the ear wax deep into the canal, making it more difficult to remove without the help of a physician. In severe cases, the wax may form a plug that may reduce your ability to hear. This wax plug may also adhere to the ear drum.
- Use a bobbie-pin, finger nail or other sharp object inside your ear canal. These items may easily cause serious injury.
- Use “ear candling,” also known as auricular candling
- Why Ear Candling Is Bad (video)
- Experts weigh in on merits of ear candling (ABC 7 LA) - LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The concept of ear candling is simple. A candle with a hollow tube is lit over the ear. Proponents claim the heat causes a vacuum that cleans out impurities.
- FDA Information on Ear Candles - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to use ear candles because they can cause serious injuries, even when used according to the manufacturer's directions. FDA has found no valid scientific evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of these devices for any medical claims or benefits.