How Should You Clean Your Ears to Help You Hear the Best?

Cotton swabs and candling are just a couple of the ways people commonly clean their ears. But is it doing any good?

Probably not. And in some cases, certainly not.


You really don’t need to clean the inside of the ears. In fact, the stuff that most people are trying to get rid of, earwax, is actually your ear’s built-in self-cleaning device.

Earwax, also called cerumen, is made up of an oily fluid produced by the glands in the outer part of the ear canal. It forms a thin film over the surface of the skin lining the canal, where it mixes with discarded skin, bits of hair, and other debris.

This layer then helps to protect the inner ear canal from water, infection, or injury. Earwax also traps particles of dust and helps eliminate bacteria that could damage the ear canal or eardrum, a particularly delicate membrane.

Earwax typically moves from inside the canal to the outer ear, where it is washed out or dries up and falls out. Most of the time, it requires no effort from you.

Still, so many people use a cotton swab to remove it. This can actually be harmful, potentially pushing wax further into the ear canal where it can accumulate and harden, particularly if you have a narrow or hairy ear canal. Other people may make a lot of earwax, leading to a buildup.

Hardened earwax can cause discomfort, hearing loss, or a ringing in the ears (tinnitus). It can also make hearing aids malfunction. Home remedies may help clean it out, but if you have any pain, it is a good idea to see a doctor; the pain may signify an infection or injury.


You can try a home-flushing kit sold at most pharmacies if you’re feeling discomfort. You can also try warmed mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide.

But really, most ear cleaning will involve little more than a washcloth.

Let your earwax do its job.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.