An updated clinical practice guideline from the
American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation was published because there is an inclination for people to want to clean their ears because they believe earwax is an indication of uncleanliness. This misinformation leads to unsafe ear health habits.
Earwax or cerumen is a normal substance that the body produces to clean, protect, and ‘oil’ ears. It acts as a self-cleaning agent to keep ears healthy. Dirt, dust, and other small matter stick to the earwax which keeps them from getting farther into the ear.
Don’t over lean your ears. Excessive cleaning may irritate the ear canal, cause infection, and even increase the chances of cerumen impaction.
Don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. Your mother was right! Cotton swabs, hair pins, car keys, toothpicks… these can all injure your ear and may cause a laceration (cut) in the ear canal, a perforation (hole) in the eardrum, and/or dislocation of the hearing bones.
Don’t use ear candles. There is no evidence that they remove impacted cerumen, and candling can cause serious damage to the ear canal and eardrum.
Do seek medical evaluation if you have symptoms of hearing loss, ear fullness or ear pain.
For more information, contact us at 393-2051.