Did you know that your ears are self-cleaning? It's actually the earwax in your ears that keeps dust, debris, and bacteria from getting into your ear canals. And as new earwax is produced, this pushes the old earwax away, meaning there is no need for you to go rooting around in your ears yourself. 

Of course, there are times when an excessive amount of earwax can occur. This could impact your hearing and might cause you to clean your ears yourself using one of the methods that we will discuss below. However, by doing so, you could cause yourself more harm in the process. So, consider the following, and think twice before using the methods discussed. 

Cotton swabs

Chances are, you have probably used this method already. Many of us do, as we have probably seen friends and members of our own families use cotton swabs within their ears. However, read the warnings on the packaging. It most cases, you will be advised against using them to clean your ears. This is because the cotton swab could push the earwax further into your ear canal and cause a blockage. And when you're poking away inside of your ear with the cotton swab, you might also perforate or rupture your eardrums if you insert it too far. So, while it's perfectly okay for you to clean the outer folds of your ears, don't insert them into your ear canal. You might only do yourself more harm than good if you do. 

Ear candling

This involves lighting one end of a candle and placing the thin taper at the other end into your ear. As the flame burns, a vacuum is created and this, combined with the warmth from the candle, is supposed to melt the wax in your ear and slowly draw it out along with any other grime and toxins. That's the theory anyway, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this method works. By inserting a candle into your ears, there is the risk that you might cause damage due to the penetration, and you might, of course, burn your ears too! 

Over-the-counter kits

There are all kinds of over the counter kits available for cleaning your ears, but care needs to be taken. It is wise to take advice from your audiologist before purchasing something that could potentially be unsafe for you to use. You might also make mistakes when carrying out the procedures given within the kits, and this could create extra problems for you. Some kits contain small metal or wooden spoons, for example. These can be used to scrape wax out of your ears, but because your ears are very delicate, you could easily damage them if you scrape too vigorously. So, before buying something over the counter, speak to your audiologist, and commit to research on the products that are available to buy before purchasing. 

Your ears will clean themselves, so there is often little need for you to clean your ears yourself. However, if a buildup of wax occurs, and you have difficulties with your hearing, then speak to your audiologist. They will give you the advice you need and might even suggest professional ear cleaning in favor of any other method that could potentially affect the long-term health of your ears.