How Often Should You Clean Your Ears

Imagine that you are having a great day, everything’s going fine, then all of a sudden you hear a little crackling sound from somewhere and you start to observe your surroundings, but you see nothing, and then you realize that it’s from nowhere other than your ear. This is what we’re going to discuss today, like how often should you clean your ears and many more things.

You must have heard somewhere that if you don’t take proper care of something, it will either get destroyed or become junk. A similar case is with our ears if we don’t regularly check on our ears, then there are chances that we’ll develop plenty of ear wax in our ear canals depending upon our hygiene habits.

1. Ear Canal

how often you should clean your ears
Photo by Franco Antonio Giovanella on Unsplash

The ear canal or auditory canal 1is a tube that covers the distance from the outer ear to the eardrum. The ear has outer, middle, and inner portions, and the canal and outer cartilage of the ear make up the outer of the ear.

The canal transports sound from the outer ear to the eardrum, which is in the middle ear. The canal is impartially exposed to the environment which is why it protects itself with many specialized glands, which produce earwax, or cerumen.

2. Formation Of Ear Wax

Where Does Earwax Come From?

2.1. General

Earwax buildup is basically a combination of wet and dry sticky mud made by the dead skin cells released from the inner wall, with a small amount of hair present in it which leads from the outer ear to the eardrum.

It will be produced depending on how often you clean your ears cause if you haven’t cleaned them for years then there are chances of finding huge chunks of earwax in your ears.

2.2. Scientifically

If we talk scientifically, then Earwax is also known as cerumen 2and is brown, orange, or slightly reddish in color and contains long-chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, alcohols, and cholesterol.

It protects a person’s ear canal and assists in cleaning and lubricating from bacteria, fungi, and water.

2.3. Excess Of Earwax

As we know that earwax protects us by trapping dust particles or other different particles that could filter through and damage the eardrum and a lot of things, but sometimes it produces it in excess and moves toward the outer of the ear, towards the opening, and falls out which could lead to a lot of problems so overall it depends on how often should you clean your ears.

3. Problems Of Ear Wax

10 risk factors for developing excessive ear wax buildup and blockage...

Excessive earwax causes a lot of problems:

  • It will impact the passage of sound in the canal, causing mild conductive hearing loss
  • pain in the ear canal
  • itchiness
  • dizziness

If you ignore these symptoms, then this may lead to bigger problems, and you’ll face a huge loss in hearing and massive pain, so better set up an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible so that you’ll be able to know if there are any signs of a hearing loss 3or something.

4. Cleaning Your Ears

See, before we get to our question on how often should you clean our ears. There are a lot of ways to clean your years. Some are reliable, and some are myths. Let’s bust those myths first

4.1. Cleaning It With Cotton Swabs

Now, normally most people use cotton swabs cause it’s easy to use and cheaper, but there’s nothing like it; the problem with this is that it often serves the opposite purpose, it will just simply increase the pain and so, overall it’s just similar as Igniting the little bush fire into a massive Forest fire.

Want to know the reason why? Here is the reason

Though by cotton swabs, we’re able to remove a little amount of earwax buildup whenever we insert cotton swab in the ear, or any other object that requires insertion into the ear canal will just push the wax further into the ear canal (because of that swab), which will lead to damage to the eardrum by puncturing it.

4.2. Ear Candling

Is Ear Candling Safe?

Some people use ear candling, which involves placing a lighted hollow, cone-shaped candle into the ear and lit at the exposed end and allowed to drain out for five minutes, and the drops of earwax drain out naturally but they can take time if present in excess amount depending on how often should you clean your ears.

However, ear candling is not a recommended treatment for earwax blockage4 because, according to the research, ear candling doesn’t work, and it may result in injury, such as burns, and ear canal perforations.

5. Alternative Methods

5.1. Movement Of The Jaw

You can clean your ears by a natural process by moving your jaws instead of inserting the cotton swabs for wax removal.

This basically moves a muscle of your ear and puts a little pressure on the canal, and in the end, you observe that your ear is popped out. Don’t worry it’s not harmful it’s just a little amount of air that just made its way through all the earwax to the outside to the exit.

5.2. Softeners

How often should you clean your ears
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

These are basically the liquids used for the removal of wax automatically like when we insert this liquid in our canal, the moment the drop hits the wax, it softens the wax and pushes it to the outer of the ear.

Here as a softener, we can use:-

  • Baby oil
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • solution of sodium bicarbonate dissolved in water, or sodium bicarbonate B.P.C. (sodium bicarbonate and glycerin)
  • Cerumol (peanut oil, turpentine and dichlorobenzene)
  • Mineral Oil
  • Glycerin

After this self-cleaning process, simply wipe the outside of your ears with a warm, damp cloth.

6. How Often Should You Clean Your Ears

Should you Clean your Ears?

Basically, you don’t have to clean your ears regularly cause if you did then there will be less earwax in your ear. This will dry out the sensitive skin of the canal then it won’t be able to protect it from germs.

So, try to aim for no more than once a day until the “excess wax” is gone, but preferably only one or two times a week and then one or two times a month.

But what happens if you find it really hard to hear someone when they talk in a soft voice or whisper, or if you are having a problem hearing over the telephone, these are clearly the signs of hearing loss my friend which is a matter of concern.

7. Treatment

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Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

In treatment, the most common method of cerumen removal is syringing with warm water.

In this, the doctor inserts a syringe inside and pressurizes some warm water into it, and closes the ear with a nob or something for a few seconds, and by the time they remove the nob all the earwax comes out in liquid form. Though it’s a little painful it’s totally worth it, you’ll feel so much lightweight and relaxed after it.

Many people experience itchy ears sometimes although they may find it bothersome, this symptom does not typically indicate a critical or serious problem.

8. Allergies

In some instances, allergies can cause itchy ears. For example, food allergies, allergic rhinitis, and allergies to substances such as hair spray could cause itching.

Food hypersensitivity occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to specific foods as harmful germs such as parasites or bacteria.

8.1. Abscesses

Abscesses - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

An abscess is a lump that contains pus and it can develop spontaneously or as a result of an infection. Symptoms of an abscess include:

  • pain
  • irritation
  • swelling
  • a feeling of fullness in the ear

To treat an abscess, a doctor creates a small incision on the abscess so that it can drain after that a person needs antibiotic drops.

So, my friend, I hope you got your answer about how often should you clean your ears.

8.2. Critical Case

Can Allergies Cause Ear Infections?

A person should consult a doctor promptly if they are experiencing the following symptoms in the ears:

  • Feel a severe spinning sensation, loss of balance, or inability to walk
  • You have persistent vomiting or high fever.
  • You have a sudden loss of hearing
  • A feeling of pressure or fullness

In such cases, People should not attempt to remove blockages manually at home. If eardrops do not help soften impacted earwax, they should seek medical attention at this point, Doctors get no other option than surgery and they either repair the eardrum or they will replace it with a new one through operation overall a healthcare professional will know how to remove the accumulated wax without risking hearing loss or damage to the canal.

9. Conclusion

In general, it’s best to avoid inserting any objects into your ears for routine cleaning. Gentle cleaning of the outer ear with a cloth is sufficient to maintain hygiene.

If you have concerns about earwax buildup or any other ear-related issues, it’s always a good idea to seek professional medical advice.

Proper ear cleaning is crucial for maintaining good ear health. While the ears have a self-cleaning mechanism, it is essential to avoid common misconceptions and unsafe practices. By following the guidelines mentioned in this article and seeking professional help when needed, you can ensure that your ears remain clean, healthy, and free from unnecessary complications.


1. How can I maintain ear hygiene without inserting objects into the ears?

A: To maintain ear hygiene, gently clean the outer ear using a damp cloth. Avoid inserting the cloth or any other objects into the ear canal. Regularly clean and maintain earphones, and hearing aids, and avoid exposure to loud noises or dusty environments.

2. When should I seek professional help for ear cleaning?

A: If you experience persistent ear discomfort, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or excessive earwax buildup, it is recommended to seek professional help from a healthcare provider or an ear, nose, and throat specialist. They can assess your condition and provide appropriate guidance or perform earwax removal if necessary.

3. Can ear cleaning cause damage to the ears?

A: Improper ear cleaning, such as using cotton swabs or inserting objects into the ear canal, can potentially cause injury to the delicate ear structures. It’s important to follow safe practices and seek professional help when needed to minimize the risk of damage.

Read more

  1. Stroman, David W., et al. “Microbiology of normal external auditory canal.” The laryngoscope 111.11 (2001): 2054-2059. ↩︎
  2. McCarter, Daniel F., A. Ursulla Courtney, and Susan M. Pollart. “Cerumen impaction.” American family physician 75.10 (2007): 1523-1528. ↩︎
  3. Carroll, Yulia I. “Vital signs: Noise-induced hearing loss among adults—United States 2011–2012.” MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 66 (2017). ↩︎
  4. Coppin, Richard, Dorothy Wicke, and Paul Little. “Managing earwax in primary care: efficacy of self-treatment using a bulb syringe.” British Journal of General Practice 58.546 (2008): 44-49. ↩︎

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Veer Pratap Singh Rathore

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