The Do’s and Don’ts of Ear Cleaning: Protecting Your Precious Hearing


Hearing is a precious gift that connects us with the world. It allows us to enjoy the chorus of birds, the laughter of loved ones, and the subtle nuances in our favorite songs. To preserve and protect this gift, it’s important to maintain good health, and a key part of that involves proper ear cleaning. This blog post will provide a comprehensive guide on the do’s and don’ts of ear cleaning to help you navigate the intricacies of self care.

Do Understand the Ear’s Self-Cleaning Mechanism

Nature has equipped our ears with an impressive self-cleaning mechanism. This mechanism involves the production of a substance known as cerumen, or earwax, in the ear canal. Earwax traps dust, dirt, and other foreign particles, preventing them from reaching the delicate eardrum. Over time, jaw movements during talking or chewing help migrate this wax towards the ear’s opening, where it dries up and flakes off naturally. Understanding and respecting this process is the first step towards good hygiene. Interference should only be necessary when this natural process is hindered due to excessive or hardened wax.

Don’t Use Cotton Swabs

You might be surprised to learn that cotton swabs are not recommended for cleaning. It might seem like a harmless, even satisfying, habit, but inserting swabs into your ear canals can do more harm than good. The swab often pushed earwax deeper into the canal, leading to impaction. Furthermore, a slip or overly enthusiastic cleaning can lead to injury of the eardrum, a sensitive structure that vibrates in response to sound waves. Therefore, cotton swabs should only be used to clean the outer part and should never be inserted into the ear canal.

Do Use a Soft, Damp Cloth for Outer Cleaning


When it comes to the outer ear, maintaining a gentle approach is essential for effective cleaning. Utilizing a soft, damp cloth to delicately wipe the external surfaces, including behind it, helps remove dirt and excess oil without causing any irritation. By adopting this gentle method, you can ensure that your outer part of the shell remains clean, comfortable, and free from any potential damage that harsh cleaning methods may pose.

Don’t Insert Objects into the Ear Canal

It’s crucial to remember that the ear canal is a delicate structure that can be easily damaged. Inserting objects like bobby pins, keys, or hairpins into it can cause significant harm. These objects can scratch the canal, cause a perforation in the eardrum, or push the wax deeper into the canal, causing impaction. If you feel the urge to scratch or clean inside it, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.

Do Seek Professional Help for Earwax Removal

If you’re experiencing symptoms of earwax buildup, such as hearing loss, tinnitus, a feeling of fullness in the ear, or earache, it’s crucial to seek professional help to address the issue effectively and safely. Healthcare professionals, such as Hear Clear NI, possess the knowledge and expertise to examine you and determine the most appropriate course of action. They have access to specialized tools and techniques designed specifically for earwax removal. One commonly used method is ear irrigation, where a stream of lukewarm water is gently directed into the canal to soften and dislodge the wax. This process is performed under controlled conditions, ensuring your safety and minimizing the risk of complications.

Don’t Use Excessive Force or Pressure

When it comes to cleaning, exercising caution and gentleness is paramount. The structures inside the organ, including the delicate eardrum, can be easily damaged if subjected to excessive force or pressure. Whether you’re using a washcloth to clean the outer part or applying ear drops to soften wax, remember that slow and gentle actions are more effective and safer. Applying excessive force or being aggressive in your approach will not yield better results; instead, it can lead to discomfort, pain, and potential harm. Treat your ears with the care they deserve, and prioritize gentle cleaning methods to maintain their health and well-being. By doing so, you’ll help preserve your precious hearing and avoid unnecessary complications.

Do Consider Over-the-Counter Ear Drops

Over-the-counter ear drops can be a convenient and effective option for managing excess earwax. These drops are usually formulated with gentle ingredients like oil or hydrogen peroxide, specifically designed to soften the wax and facilitate its natural migration out of the canal. By following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, you can ensure safe and proper use of the ear drops. If you have any concerns or questions about using over-the-counter drops, it’s always wise to consult a pharmacist or healthcare provider. They can provide valuable guidance and address any specific queries you may have, ensuring that you use the drops correctly and maximize their effectiveness in safely managing excess wax.

Don’t Overclean


Just like any other part of the body, it’s possible to overclean the ears. Excessive cleaning can irritate the skin in the canal and disrupt the natural balance of beneficial earwax. Remember, earwax serves an important purpose in trapping debris and preventing infections. So, aim for a balance in your hygienic practices.

Do Maintain Good Hygiene

Maintaining overall good ear hygiene involves more than just cleaning. Keeping your ears dry and free from excessive moisture is crucial as damp environments can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi, leading to infections. After swimming or showering, make sure to dry your ears gently. If you frequently use buds or headphones, keep them clean to prevent introducing bacteria into your ears.

Don’t Ignore Persistent Ear Issues

Finally, while regular care is important, it should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care when needed. Persistent or worsening symptoms like pain, itching, drainage, vertigo, or hearing loss should never be ignored. These could be signs of conditions like ear infections, tinnitus, or even hearing loss that require professional evaluation and treatment.



Proper cleaning is an important part of maintaining good hearing health. It’s essential to understand the do’s and don’ts to avoid common pitfalls and potential damage. By following the guidelines laid out in this post, you can help preserve your precious gift of hearing and promote overall health. Remember, when in doubt, always seek professional advice. Your ears are irreplaceable, and taking good care of them ensures they will continue to connect you with the beautiful sounds of the world for years to come.