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How often do you clean your ears?

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I dont know why but I always q-tip my ears after the shower, but then i heard that it can harm your ears because you can take out too much wax that would otherwise protect your ears.
Is there any truth to that?
How often do you q-tip your ears?!
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replied January 6th, 2012
Especially eHealthy

This is one of those, everyone is different, type of questions.

While it is true, that if you take out the vast majority of the cerumen (ear wax), you might cause problems, it would be quite difficult to remove that much. I mean if you used Q-tips and those little things that doctors have, which have a loop of wire on the end of a metal probe, and scraped out all of the wax, yes, you could cause problems.

Your external ear canals do need some wax, along with the tiny ear hairs inside the canal (not really the big ones on the outside on the ears, you can pluck them), to keep foreign objects (yes, including small insects) from getting deep into the canal. The system mostly traps dust and small dirt particles.

And, of course, there is always the warning not to go too deeply and injure the tympanic membrane (ear drum). But, even if you were really overzealous and did puncture the ear drum, it would heal, usually without any problems. ENT surgeons actually puncture the ear drum to treat chronic cases of middle ear infection. In small children a myringotomy and placement of PE tubes is commonly done for this problem. These tubes eventually fall out and the hole heals. And, it usually does not affect hearing at all. But, do avoid the ear drum.

So, it is probably fine that you clean your ear canals everyday, as long as you do not irritate the lining. It would be almost impossible for you to remove the cerumen that is deep in the canal. One other thing, just try not to push the cerumen deeper into the canal, blocking it up. That can cause an impaction.

Good luck.
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