Earwax There to Protect Your Hearing, Doctors Say

Posted January 05, 2017

"This update is significant because it not only provides best practices for clinicians in managing cerumen impaction, it is a strong reminder to patients that ear health starts with them, and there are many things they should do as well as many things that they should stop doing immediately to prevent damage to their ears".

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation published Tuesday new guidelines in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, in which Scientists say you should put down the q-tip and leave ear wax where it belongs-in your ear.

DON'T over-clean your ears.

The updated clinical guidelines on earwax removal appeared in the January 3rd edition of the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Doctors also said that using ear candles to clear out waxy buildup might not work and could cause severe burns and injury to the ear. According to Heathline, when you have compacted ear wax, it can have some serious effects on your health. For many of us, using cotton buds in our ears feels as much a part of our regular routine as taking a shower, clipping our nails, or brushing our teeth.

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The advisory panel cautioned that cotton swabs, toothpicks, hair pins and keys and any other things smaller-than-our-elbow-objects can cause cuts in ear canals, perforate eardrums and even dislocate hearing bones.

You can read the guideline in full here.

DO ask your doctor about home remedies for treating earwax impaction.

Seek medical attention if you are experiencing ear pain, ear fullness, or hearing loss and you are unsure whether these symptoms are caused by earwax buildup.

Call a doctor if you have symptoms like ear pain, hearing loss or stuffy-headedness that might not be from earwax.

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Dr Seth Schwartz, chair of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, said: "Patients often think that they are preventing earwax from building up by cleaning out their ears with cotton swabs, paper clips, ear candles, or any number of unimaginable things that people put in their ears".

"Excessive cleaning may irritate the ear canal, cause infection, and even increase the changes of cerumen impaction".

It's the body's way of keeping dirt and dust and other debris from getting farther into the ear, and it acts as a moisturizer for the ear canal.

And this normal process of making wax and pushing the old wax out is continual.

This kind of blockage is fairly common, and the experts added that "excessive or impacted cerumen is present in 1 in 10 children, 1 in 20 adults, and more than one-third of the geriatric and developmentally delayed populations". The body is used to deal with earwax by removing old wax when it crusts up and by growing more skin cells.

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