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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ear Wax Is Okay -- Why You Should Never Clean Your Ears Again!

African American woman's ear

People do it every day. The first thing they grab after coming out of the shower is a cotton-swabbed stick to clean the inside of their ears. But, did you know that putting any cleaning device inside your ears is dangerous? Did you also know that ear wax is a good thing?

The dangers of cleaning inside the ears

Any doctor will tell you never to put anything in your ear canal. It is common for people to use cotton-wrapped sticks, bobby pins and other sharp devices to get all the was out of the inside of their ears. But what these devices actually do is push the wax further into the ear canal. This can eventually block your hearing ability, cause infection and even rupture the eardrum.

Wax is OK

We clean the inside of our ears because we think they are dirty. But wax is not dirt. Ear wax contains antibacterial enzymes that are designed to prevent ear infection. It keeps bacteria out, as well as dirt and even water. In other words, ear wax is a good thing. Trying to remove ear wax can result in your ears being too dry, causing irritation and increasing your risk of ear infection.

The safe way to remove excess ear wax

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists recommend this method only if you are experiencing excess wax buildup. Start with a couple drops of olive oil, coconut oil, or water in your ear to soften the wax. Then, flush out both ears with a capful of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. It's safe, inexpensive and effective.

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