Earwax falls out when you eat.

Why You Should (Almost) Never Clean Your Ears

... about 7,000 people are hospitalized with injuries from cotton swabs each year -- more than razor blades. To rub salt in the wound, all those ear-cleaning efforts are for naught! For the most part, swabs merely condense and impact the earwax further into the ear canal, where it can cause pain, pressure, and temporarily poor hearing.

"There's no need to clean your ears with a cotton bud," writes Dr. Rob Hicks. "The ear has its own internal cleaning mechanism. Fats and oils in the ear canal trap any particles and transport them out of the ear as wax. This falls out of the ear without us noticing."

Much of this cascade occurs while we eat. The movement of the jaw massages wax out of the ear canal. Along with the wax comes any particulates or dirt that were gumming up the hearing works.

Occasionally, earwax can build-up in excess and harden. When this happens, it's best to head to your doctor for a brief cleaning. Be aware that a lot of the do-it-yourself cleaners are relatively ineffective and may actually be harmful. (Ear candles, pictured above, are an example of the kooky, harmful variety.)

As an effectual home remedy to excessive ear wax build-up, the American Hearing Research Foundation recommends putting a couple tiny drops of clean olive oil or baby oil in your ear every other week or so. [emphasis mine]

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Ruth - again. I have been using cotton swabs.

Reminds me of what a health teacher in High School said: "Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ears."  I just thought, you don't have my ears!

I think it is a bad idea to clean the wax out and I don't do it.  However, I do put the blunt end of a pen in my ear several times a day to itch.  

My skin has always been itchy, including in my nose and ears.  Until I find an easy method of relieving the intense itching that occurs in my ears, I have to continue using the pen.  So far, I've done no damage that I can tell, other than compacting the wax, which once in a great while has to be removed by a doctor so I can hear well again.


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