Understanding earwax and ear care is imperative in order to maintain optimum hearing health. We answer some of our frequently asked questions…
Should I clean my ears?
In normal situations ears are self-cleaning and actually have antibacterial properties. Acting like a filter for your ears, wax collects dead skin, dust and foreign bodies. When you move your jaw, the wax moves along the ear canal to the ear opening where it can either dry up, flake off or fall out. It is a common misconception that earwax is formed in the deep part of your ear canal. It is however made in the outer section and a blockage can be because wax has manually been pushed deeper.
Should I wash inside my ears?
This may seem like a good idea, but this can upset the natural pH balance of the ear canal and leads to the possibility of water being trapped. Being a dark, warm and moist place this can leave the ear canal prone to infection.
Why do I get pimples in my ear?
The outer ear and ear canal have skin cells, hair cells, and oil-producing glands, which are all it takes for a pimple to form. Pimples appear when a pore becomes clogged with dead skin cells and sebum, which is the natural oil that protects the skin and keeps it moist. Bacteria can also cause pimples, so anything that introduces bacteria or dirt into the ear can cause them to occur. Some conditions can cause symptoms similar to a pimple in the ear, so it is important to identify a it correctly in order to treat it. A dermatologist can help diagnose and treat these skin related issues.
Why do I get flaky skin in my ears?
The ear canal is lined with skin that extends from the eardrum to the outer ear. It migrates from the eardrum at approximately 1mm per day. As it migrates out of the ear canal, it brings earwax, dust and other debris that may enter the ear canal with it. This process helps your ear canals to stay clear and healthy.
Can I use cotton buds?
The use of cotton buds and other implements (such as hair grips, pen tops, paper clips etc) is more likely to push any wax further into the ear canal causing blockages and discomfort. It is also possible that the delicate skin lining will be damaged and the natural bacterial flora of the ear disturbed increasing the chances of infection. Our advice is never put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow!
Where does earwax come from?
Earwax is the formulation of different gland secretions and a mixture of keratin and other matter that enters the ear canal. Earwax is produced in the first third of the ear canal and can be a grey, orange, red or yellowish waxy substance. It protects the skin of the canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication and also provides protection against bacteria, fungi, insects, and water.
Should I use olive oil regularly?
Not necessarily. Generally, ears are self-cleansing and best left to look after themselves. However, as we get older the properties of the ear can change and like other parts of the body can become dry and in need of lubrication, for which we often recommend Earol Olive Oil (£5.59). For those people that produce ‘excessive’ dead skin within the ear, too much lubricant can impede the natural migration and make the situation worse. For this reason, it is always best to discuss your individual requirements with your Ear Care Practitioner or Audiologist.
Does olive oil remove earwax?
Olive oil and other remedies will not necessarily remove wax by itself, but can be used as an effective ‘softening agent’. Administering olive oil 5 days preceding professional removal will reduce discomfort and facilitate easier removal of earwax. Regular use of olive oil may depend upon the type and nature of wax production and if your ears are itchy and in need of some extra lubrication. Personally, we recommend Earol spray for general softening and Miracell ProEar for itchy and irritated ears.
What should I use for itchy ears?
We recommend Miracell Pro Ear (£10.99) which is designed to soothe the skin. Unlike skin products that contain chemicals, Miracell works to benefit skin with essential oils, such as apricot kernel to keep skin soft; sesame oil to alleviate soreness and speed up the renewal process; jojoba oil to keep skin toned and tightened; caprylic/capric triglycerides to soothe; and avocado oil to provide nutrients. Quick tip: Try to keep water and shampoo residue out of ears that are prone to itchiness.
Are Hopi Candles safe to use?
Hopi Candles have been suggested to be an ancient method of removing wax from the ears. However, they have been strongly disclaimed by the NHS as having no scientific evidence in their effectiveness, and can be quite dangerous.
Why seek professional ear care?
There are a variety of self-cleaning implements available that make claims about how easy it is to clean one's own ears. The ear is a delicate, well balanced structure that can easily be damaged. Putting aside any obvious danger involved in the use of these products, the simple truth is that you cannot see inside your own ears and are unlikely to be aware of any possible complications, such as perforated or weak ear drums, the risk of self-harm or infection. A dedicated Ear Care Practitioner is trained not only to facilitate the safe and comfortable removal of earwax with a variety of different methods, but they are equally trained to recognise diseases of the ear and features that are unusual and also know when to onward refer to specialist medical practitioners.
Booking an appointment is easy and you do not require a medical referral. Click here to find out where and when our earwax removal service is available.