As far as body parts go, your ears are pretty low-maintenance. You don't even have to clean them out—though you probably do anyway.
And that's a bad idea. Especially if you're using cotton-tipped swabs to swipe at your inner ear, you're asking for trouble, says Brett Comer, MD, an assistant professor of otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat medicine) at the University of Kentucky.
Check out some of the common mistakes that you make with your ears and find out why it is important to avoid them.
Ears are vital organs of our body. Ears are not only important for our hearing but also are vital for maintaining balance. These are low-maintenance organs and a little care of the ear can go a long way to keep them hale and hearty. There are three parts of the ear: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Though all of these three parts are involved in hearing, only the inner ear is functionally responsible for balance.
The outer ear directs the sound waves towards the eardrum which is also called the tympanic membrane. It also houses a modified form of sweat gland that produces ear wax. Ear wax is crucial because it is important for proper greasing and lubrication of the ear.The inner ear is an air-filled tube. Three bones namely malleus, incus and stapes are attached to the tympanic membrane. The inner ear is a group of tubes filled with a fluid. So an ear is a complicated organ and delicate as well. But the process of caring for the ear is surprisingly simple. However, we tend to mess it up by making certain mistakes which we should refrain from making.
№2 Cleaning Your Ears Regularly
You probably don’t need to clean your ears at all, let alone daily or every other day. Known technically as cerumen, earwax is made mostly of dead skin cells but is also contains lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme, fatty acids, alcohols, cholesterol and squalene.
Earwax isn’t a substance you need to guard your ears against; it’s actually beneficial and provides protection, lubrication and antibacterial properties. As explained by the American Hearing Research Foundation:4
“Too little ear wax increases the risk of infection … at least ten antimicrobial peptides are present in ear wax preventing bacteria and fungi from growing.”
Further, the skin in your ears grows in an outward direction in order to move earwax and skin debris out of your ear canal. The removal of earwax is also helped along by movements of your jaw (talking, chewing, etc.).
Once it reaches your outer ear it will simply fall out or be removed when you shower or bathe. You can use a washcloth to gently remove wax from your outer ear, if necessary, but you needn’t clean your ear canal.
In an interview with Common Health, Dr. Steven D. Rauch, professor of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School, explained:5
“The skin of the ear canal migrates outward like a conveyor belt and pushes the wax out, so by and large, ears are self-cleaning. If you leave your ears alone, they’ll leave you alone.
In some cases, because of the shape of the canal or the consistency of the wax, you need someone to clean it, but routinely, that’s not the case, and you’re thwarting the normal conveyor belt mechanics when you plow the stuff down into the deep part of the canal.”
№3 Using those ear-cleaning candles
Researchers have looked into the effectiveness of these candles, which purportedly break up and draw out your earwax. But those studies found no proof these candles actually do anything, says Richard Rosenfeld, MD, chair of otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York. On the other hand, these candles could certainly harm your ear. "You could get a burn, or open up perforations in your eardrum," Comer says. Stay away.