How to clean and keep your ears healthy

Healthy ears: hints and tips

Here are some tips for keeping your ears healthy.

  • Never poke anything into your ears. The lining of the ear is delicate and you can easily damage it
  • Don't use cotton buds to clean your ears. They can irritate the ear canal and push wax back inside, making it more difficult to remove
  • To keep ears clean, wash the visible part of the ear and behind the ear using a little soap. Then wipe the soap away with rinsed fingers and dry with a thin towel
  • Don't immerse your ears in bath water, as body bacteria may enter your ear canal and could cause an infection
  • Try a drop of olive oil in each ear once a week to soften earwax and encourage it to move out of the ear naturally
  • Use earplugs to protect your ears from dust and loud noise
  • Don't ignore ear problems; they won't improve without the right treatment. The longer you leave an ear problem, the longer it may take to treat.

If you think your hearing may be affected by noise at work, the best place to start is by talking to your employer, (who has a legal duty under European Union regulation) to assess and control the risks. As a general guide, you shouldn't have to work without ear protection, with noise levels at work that are louder than a busy street.

If you experience any loss of hearing, our expert Audiologists have the knowledge and experience to answer any questions you may have about hearing protection as well as being able to give you a full comprehensive hearing test. This will leave you with the knowledge and understanding of the health of your ears and the best way to protect them.

Discover and explore our range of ear protection devices including noise-cancelling earplugs, ear defenders and headphones that can help protect your hearing in a wide range of environments. 

How do I clean my ears properly?

From a medical point of view, the ears usually clean themselves, so that active cleaning is usually not necessary. Nevertheless, people produce different amounts of ear wax  (med .: cerumen). So it happens again and again that a clogged ear impairs hearing performance.

There is no earwax overproduction. Everyone is different. One ear produces more, the other less. Not to forget: the secretion is healthy and important. Its function is to remove dirt and bacteria. It arises in the wax glands, medically called glandulae ceruminosae. The glands are located in the anterior ear canal. Only there is the secretion. The glands that secrete it are slightly altered sweat glands. 

In general, it consists of more than 1000 substances, not all of which are known by a long way. The cerumen also contains antibacterial agents to make it as difficult as possible for the little intruders. This is another reason to leave enough wax in your ears. Because this can prevent infections such as otitis media. The reason for a clogged ear is an impaired removal of the ear wax. Then only liquid will help to dissolve it. 

How can you clean clogged ears yourself?

  • Step 1: Purposely let some lukewarm water run into your ear when showering or bathing.
  • Step 2: Chewing movements stimulate the ear to transport the liquid to the outside.
  • Step 3: Wipe the liquid that runs out after a few minutes from the auricle with a handkerchief.
  • Step 4: If there is no improvement, use a spray or a rinse solution from the pharmacy to clean your ears.
  • Step 5: still not better? Please see an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT).
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How can you do an ear irrigation?

If you want to rinse your ears yourself, you should pay attention to a few safety instructions, as the ear irrigation can cause damage to the eardrum due to excessive pressure if it is not carried out properly . An increased water temperature also affects the sensitive equilibrium organ. In general, ear irrigation should only be performed on healthy ears without infections or damage to the eardrum. 

Performing an ear irrigation:

  • If you want to do an ear irrigation yourself, all you need is a balloon syringe. These are available in pharmacies. 
  • After cleaning the syringe, it is filled with water at 37 degrees Celsius.
  • To cleanse, tilt your head to one side and pull your ear back and up. 
  • Insert the tip of the balloon syringe into the ear canal, squeeze the balloon and rinse the ears with the water.
  • The dirty water is best drained over the sink or bowl.
  • Repeat this process until the ear is free of wax.

Have your ears cleaned by a specialist

It is safer to have your ears cleaned by an ENT specialist, who checks in advance whether the eardrum is intact. Then he dissolves stubborn dirt with ear drops. The doctor then rinses the ears with water at body temperature from a metal or plastic syringe. At the end, he checks again whether the flush did not cause any injury. 

Home remedies to clean out ears

If lukewarm water is not enough to liquefy the wax in the ears, the person affected can use a home remedy to remove wax that remains in the ear canal for a short time and softens the cerumen. A pipette from the pharmacy or a small spoon can be used to put it in the ear. 

Cleaning with salt water

  • Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 100 milliliters of lukewarm water.
  • Drizzle salt water into the clogged ear. 
  • Leave on for about 15 minutes. Tilt your head to one side so that the water does not run out. 

Cleaning with oil

  • Warm almond or olive oil to body temperature. 
  • Put a few drops of lukewarm oil in your ears.
  • Tilt your head to one side and let the oil work for five minutes.
  • Then rinse the ears with lukewarm water.
  • The oil can also work overnight. To do this, simply close the ears with cotton wool. 

Cleaning with steam

  • Pour one tablespoon of chamomile with two liters of hot water.
  • Hold your ears over the steam for at least ten minutes. Put a towel over your head.
  • Rinse ears with lukewarm water. 
  • Chamomile gently cleanses and protects against bacteria. 

Why are cotton buds not good?

Cotton buds are not at all suitable for cleaning ears, because they often push the cerumen in front of the eardrum, which leads to the formation of a plug  . Ear wax is a natural protective film that has a killing effect on germs and bacteria and is used to clean the ear canals. When using cotton swabs, this protective film is pushed into the ear canal, where it can clump together and dry out. Damage to the eardrum, ear pain and, in the worst case, tinnitus  or acute hearing loss are not infrequently the result of improper use. 

To get an idea of ​​how to clean the ears, it is worth taking a look inside the ear. The ear canal becomes narrower and narrower deeper in the ear. After this "bottleneck" it expands again before it ends at the eardrum. This funnel shape in the first few centimeters explains why it makes no sense to remove ear wax with a cotton swab. This is because it automatically gets into an increasingly narrow area when you try to remove it mechanically. Therefore you have to loosen the wax in order to let it drain outwards. 

Nevertheless, many believe that they can clean their ears with ear buds. Perhaps because these are often used to care for the auricle in infants. But they do not have to be placed directly in the ear canal: the skin in the ear is very thin and not designed for mechanical friction. Even the “cotton wool” ends of the swab can injure the skin, creating space for bacteria that can cause inflammation when cleaning the ears.

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