If you’re an ear-cleaning fan, the advice is: ditch those earbuds! According to Karin Barrow, head of Cape Hearing Aids, cleaning the ear canal excessively may damage the ear canal lining and would increase humidity in the area. “The result is infection and irritation of the area around the ear canal and this may damage ear function,” she said.
ENT specialists the world over are of the opinion that cleaning the ear canal is entirely unnecessary. Karin explained, “The ear has a self-cleaning mechanism in which the fats and oils present in the ear trap any debris, dust or particles and send them out of the body through earwax. There’s also a lubricating and protective substance called cerumen, which actually protects the external auditory canal.”
Ear wax isn’t dirt. It’s absolutely necessary so as to protect the ears from invading particles. The spiral of our ear actually helps wax to emerge. Also, wax naturally is pushed out with jaw movements such as yawning, talking and chewing.
Earbuds do more harm than good for the ears – as corroborated by the fact that thousands of people need to be treated in a hospital for earbud-related ear infections and injuries every year.
When you shower and soapy water gets into your ear, chances are you’re one of many who reaches for the earbuds to get the water out. But for the sake of your ear health, stop this practise now!
Yes, the cotton buds do come out with some gunk on them, but the fact is, the bud actually pushes the wax further inwards into the ear canal. What’s more, you’re also driving the wax against your eardrum. This can lead to severe ear pain and loss of hearing. All the more reason to ditch those earbuds. If you absolutely must remove excess water from your ear, simply wipe gently with a dry face cloth.
However, should you find that excessive wax has built up in your ear, it’s best to visit your trusted audiologist to remove it safely and professionally.