|Safest ways to clean your ears
If you're like most people, earwax is something you never think
about, but maybe you should. This yellowish secretion protects your
inner ear from potentially damaging things, like sand, dirt, and
But too much earwax can make hearing difficult. In extreme
cases, it can block the ear canal. Having very hairy or narrow ears can
make the problem even worse.
If you're having trouble with earwax, follow this advice from the
Toss aside the cotton swabs. Did your mother ever tell you not
to stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear ? She was right.
Trying to pick at earwax with your fingers, tweezers, or other sharp
objects could cause serious injury. Even cotton swabs are a no-no.
Doctors say a swab is more likely to push the wax deeper into your
Flush it away. Fill a bowl or bathroom sink with warm water.
Using a rubber ball syringe, turn your head to one side and flush one
ear at a time with water, dropping the water in gently. Never apply
more than just the slightest bit of pressure. Remember, you're trying
to soften the wax, not blast it out.
Try a drop of oil. If warm water hasn't done the trick, try a different approach. Use an eyedropper to place a couple of drops of oil
-- baby, vegetable, or mineral -- into your ear. Hold it in with a cotton ball for a few minutes, then wipe away the excess. Over a day or
two, the oil should start to break up the wax. You can also use this
technique with hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, or a warm water and
Chomp down on buildup. Your body's natural defense against
earwax buildup isn't an active pinkie finger -- it's chewing. The
chewing motion of your teeth and jaw actually breaks up earwax and
keeps your ear canal in good working order. People who don't chew
their food well often have trouble with earwax.
Cut back on fat. If you need another reason to cut the fat out of
your diet, here it is. Research has shown that saturated fat, found
mostly in foods of animal origin, causes your ears to produce too
much earwax. So take it easy on your hearing while you take it easy
on your heart -- cut back on saturated fat.