Ears: How To Avoid Earwax Plugs?
Earwax usually causes reactions of disgust... And yet, it is very useful! If you don't know how to take good care of your ears and clean them without causing earwax plugs, read our little practical guide below! We explain everything about your ear canal in 5 questions.
1- What is the purpose of earwax?
You may not know it, but your ears are self-cleaning organs! This is due to the presence of cerumen, a yellow to brown wax that protects the ear canal and facilitates the removal of germs and dust.
This ear wax is produced by specific glands located in the ear canal. It plays a very important role because it is used to :
- to line the walls of the auditory canal
- trap foreign bodies such as dust and insects
- protect the ear against microbes
- eliminate microbes but also impurities such as skin and hair debris.
Therefore, and contrary to popular belief, ear wax is not dirty but instead serves to keep our ears clean by protecting our eardrum from external aggressions.
2- Should I clean my ears?
Normally, the earwax that protects our ears is gradually expelled from the ear canal by the movements of our jaws during chewing.
When everything is going well, the earwax is evacuated naturally. This is why it is not necessary to clean your ears every day.
Ear maintenance can be done 2 to 3 times a week but always gently.
3- How to clean your ears?
To clean your ears and facilitate the evacuation of earwax, you can use :
- a small tissue
- An ear Hygiene spray
- a reusable ear pick called oriculi.
On the other hand, cotton swabs are not recommended and not just because single-use plastic models have been banned for sale in France since 2020!
Even the cardboard models should be handled with caution to avoid promoting earwax plugs, infections and possible eardrum piercing.
The best method to clean your ears is still to wash them with water, in the shower or when you shampoo and then dry them with a corner of a towel.
4- Where do earwax plugs come from?
Sometimes clumps of earwax accumulate and form a plug that causes aural discomfort.
If you feel like you can't hear as well on one side, your ear is ringing or hurts when you chew, these symptoms can alert you to the presence of a cerumen blockage.
You may also experience dizziness or a feeling of a blocked ear, or irritation, itching or even pain in the ear canal.
The production of earwax varies from person to person. But the main cause of clog formation is the misuse of the cotton swab. If you push it too deeply into your ear canal, you pack the wax and it eventually oxidizes.
Other factors that can interfere with natural earwax removal include:
- a narrow or elbow-shaped ear canal
- heavy hair growth in the ears
- Wearing hearing aids or headphones...
5- How do I remove earwax?
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms described above, you need to act quickly because a wax blockage is easier to remove when it is fresh and soft.
To make it easier to remove the plug, you can use an ear spray or special bulb that you fill with warm water to gently dissolve the plug and make it go away.
On the other hand, when the wax clump is too compact or too dry, you should consult an ENT doctor to have the plug removed.
In any case, do not use cotton swabs, pins or sharp objects that could hurt you, or ear candles that can cause burns.
As soon as the plug is out, you should hear perfectly again. If not, consult an ENT specialist to have your hearing checked.