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Is it good to remove ear wax?

We all probably have tried to try to remove ear wax inside the ear using cotton buds at least once in our life. This is especially true if our ears feel full or wet from water such as after a shower or swimming. We often take our ear for granted when what we should do is to get regular health screening that can help detect possible health issues. While it is true that it feels somewhat nice to be able to remove these ear wax, is it good to remove it?

Ear wax is also known as cerumen. Ear wax is wax that is made by the tiny glands in the ear canal. Ear wax is important to ensure the ear canal is clean and healthy. Ear wax is made up of a mixture of wax, skin cells and dirt. The wax is normally self-clearing but wax can be accumulated if there is disruption to the normal movement of wax. Such conditions can cause the wax to become hardened or impacted in the ear canal.

Ear wax at most times does not cause any issues but we all know and maybe have experienced when the ear feels full. Fullness in the ear can be from the accumulated ear wax that causes wax blockage. In some people, their narrow ear canals or the ear canals may be in abnormal shape. This itself will disrupt the self-cleaning process of the ear wax. Despite this, the most common reason for ear wax build-up is our own action which is using foreign objects such as cotton tips that push the wax deeper inside the ear canal. This also limits the self-cleaning process that causes wax to build-up over time.

Do you know that some people may produce ear wax more than other people? It is worth noting that this does not mean a person has poor hygiene. It is just the way their body is capable of producing more ear wax than normal people do. There are reasons that make a person likely to have build-up ear wax such as those working in dirty and dusty environments, regular usage of earplugs and habits of cleaning ears with cotton buds. Older people are more susceptible to having accumulated ear wax due to the wax getting harder and difficult to fall out.

Excessive ear wax can cause more problems than just feeling fullness in the ear. Weird noises (tinnitus) in the ear can also occur. It can cause earache and infection that can be very discomforting. Some may even experience some form of hearing loss due to the ear wax problems.

Knowing the ear wax may pose a problem, you may wonder if it is good to remove it. In general, not really. You can actually leave it alone, provided that there is no symptoms of course. If you feel bothered by the ear wax, the best thing to do is to get medical help to remove the ear wax. Furthermore, this ear wax removal can be done in a clinic without the need for sophisticated tools. The good news is, it can be removed easily and safely on the hands of the professional.

Does this mean that you cannot remove the ear wax by yourself? Maybe you would want to re-consider this decision first based on few reasons:

  • There is definitely no need to remove the ear wax by yourself and no need for routine maintenance. Additionally, when you insert swabs into the ear in an attempt to remove earwax or prevent ear wax build-up, you actually push in the wax further deeper inside the ear.
  • Using cotton tipped swabs or even anything that you think may help to remove ear wax may not be ideal as it can damage the ear canal beside pushing the earwax further. This actually makes the ear wax more difficult to be removed. On top of that, it can place pressure in the ear which then messes up your hearing. In the worst case, the earwax that has clumped can dislodge on the eardrum which then leads to painful ear infections.
  • Removing the ear wax actually may cause more harm. Ear wax is known to be a natural moisturiser that prevents the skin inside the ear from becoming too dry. It also traps dirt and dust before it goes further down the ear canal. Ear wax helps to absorb dead skin cells and debris. It also prevents bacteria and other pathogens from reaching the inner ear.

It can be concluded that there is nothing good to remove the ear wax unless in certain conditions such as when the ear is infected, you already experience hearing loss or after an injury to the ear. The best thing to do when you have the urge to clean the ear wax is to get medical advice. Do avoid cleaning your ear by yourself as it can cause more harm than good.

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