To ear bud, or not to ear bud – That is the question!

For years the ear bud has been a constant fixture in most bathroom cabinets. Take a couple out, a quick dab in one ear, a quick dab in the other – what’s the harm? Well, the most obvious is getting part of it stuck in your ear! That aside, regular ear bud use can also lead to skin irritation, infection and even hearing loss.

How Do I Manage The Wax?

So how are you supposed to get rid of all the wax then? You might want to sit down for this one: you’re not supposed to! That gooey, golden stuff that builds up inside your ears should stay there. Earwax is a self-cleaning agent, with protective antibacterial properties.

Excess earwax normally moves slowly out of the ear canal, with an extra boost from chewing and other jaw movements, carrying with it dirt, dust and other small particles from the ear canal. Then, dried-up clumps of the stuff fall out of your ear opening, all by themselves. It’s just another amazing thing that your body does for itself!

What Can Go Wrong

When this natural process goes wrong, or when you poke around in your ears with ear buds or other foreign objects like keys, hair clips or matchsticks, earwax can build up and block part of the ear canal.

If enough wax builds up, it may cause short-term hearing loss by blocking the sound coming into the ear. Forcibly removing the ear’s protective wax layer, or scratching the skin that lines the ear canal can also increase your risk of infection.

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Once this wax starts to build up, there are a few ways to remove it, most of which come with the warning “don’t try this at home” – it’s best to see your doctor for this one!

It’s All Part of the Design…

The bottom line is: Ears are designed by nature to be both self-cleaning and self-protecting, so it’s best to leave the inside of your ear alone and not disturb its natural environment.