Most people don’t give much thought to their ears. They use them every day to hear the world around them, but people don’t often think about how their ears work or what they can do to keep them healthy. However, ear health is important, and one of the best ways to maintain healthy ears is to clean them regularly.

What Is Earwax?

Earwax is a natural substance that helps protect your ears from dirt, dust and other potentially harmful substances. It also keeps your ears lubricated and prevents them from becoming dry and itchy. While earwax is beneficial, too much of it can cause problems. When earwax builds up, it can block the ear canal and make it difficult to hear. It can also lead to an ear infection.

How To Clean Your Ears

Cleaning your ears is relatively simple, but it’s important to do it carefully to avoid damaging the delicate skin in the ear canal. A cotton swab is often the first thing people reach for when they want to clean their ears, but this can actually push the wax further into the ear and make the problem worse. So instead, try using a soft, damp cloth to wipe around the outside of the ear. You can also use a bulb syringe filled with warm water to gently rinse out the ear canal.

When To See a Hearing Health Professional

If you have excess earwax that is blocking your ear canal, you may need to see a hearing health provider to have it removed. This is typically done using a small device called a curette or by flushing the ear canal with warm water.

Cleaning your ears is important, but it’s also important to know how to do it correctly.

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe around the outside of your ear.
  • Use a cotton swab or earbud to gently clean the inside of your ear canal. Be careful not to push the cotton swab too far into your ear.
  • Rinse your ear with warm water after cleaning.


  • Use sharp objects, such as knives or tweezers to clean your ears. Unfortunately, this can damage your ear canal or even puncture your eardrum.
  • Use cotton swabs to clean the inside of your ear canal. This can push wax further into your ear and cause impaction.
  • Use ear candles. There is no evidence that ear candles remove wax from your ears. In fact, they can actually be dangerous, causing burns or perforating your eardrum.
  • Rinse your ear with hot water. This can actually cause the wax to build up in your ear canal. So, stick to warm water instead.

Earwax is a necessary part of your anatomy, but too much of it can cause problems. By keeping your ears clean, you can help prevent earwax buildup and keep your ears healthy.

Cleaning your ears is an integral part of personal hygiene, but it’s essential to do it correctly. In addition, if you have any concerns about your ears, such as pain, discharge or hearing loss, it’s essential to see a hearing health professional. They can determine if a more serious problem needs to be treated.

Been a while since your last ear cleaning? Contact our professionals at Hearing & Balance Services of Reston to schedule an appointment at (703) 297-8715.

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