Most people think earwax is a bother. But truth is, it serves many important functions, not the least of which is to protect the ear canal. It may feel quite uncomfortable at times because it can build up and look unsightly. When impacted it can also lead to hearing loss. You may try to get earwax out at any cost, such as with a pinky, a swab or even tissue. If you can’t stand the feeling of earwax, rely on a professional audiologist for safe removal rather than attempt these home remedies. Home cleaning methods can actually impart more harm than good, so check out these ways in which you’ve been cleaning your ears improperly.

Ear Drops

They may seem harmless or even affordable, but you don’t need to waste your money on these ineffective remedies. You may have seen them in the stores, all promising to encourage the flow of wax out of your ears, but they don’t work in the same way for everyone. By dripping the liquid into each ear, then tilting the head, the liquid – ideally – works to loosen and remove the earwax. However, everyone features different sizes and orientations of ear canals, as well as earwax make-up, creating a difficult way to ensure reliable results each time.

Cotton Swabs

We’re all guilty of using swabs to get at earwax but it’s not a safe practice. You may have success in grabbing the superficial wax with your cotton swab, but you’re missing a lot more wax that you’re simply sending further into the ear canal, causing damage like impaction and hearing loss, not to mention future discomfort and pain. This may be a part of your morning routine after a shower, but you’re best off having a doctor remove your earwax under supervision.

Ear Candle

Quite possibly the most harmful way of removing earwax, ear candling entails the use of candles comprised of a fabric coated with wax. After lighting the long wick and creating a flame, you place the cone into the ear to create a vacuum seal. Unfortunately, the vacuum isn’t strong enough to have the desired result, which is to draw out the wax. What’s more likely to happen is you could be severely burned by the hot wax or the flame. Your clothing or hair could even catch fire.

Professional Ear Care is Number One

You should always see a professional audiologist when you want to rid your ears of wax. Why? This type of doctor is highly trained in the use of safe tools, plus he can apply the expertise and know-how to achieve earwax removal in a safe manner. You will feel and hear better once you’ve gotten this simple procedure done. An examination of your ear drum will ensure no damage from impaction has occurred. Be sure to schedule your next regular check-up on the way out.