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Your Healthy Family: Earwax why we need it and how to safely clean it

Posted at 9:02 AM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 19:01:46-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Earwax is generally something that may be considered gross by many. We don’t like to see it, feel it, or deal with it.

Dr. Cassie Iliff, Au.D, doctor of audiology with Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs explains, “You actually need earwax, you want your wax. It has antibacterial properties that keep our ear skin nice and lubricated and it protect us from bugs and other debris.”

Dr. Iliff also says living at altitude like we do here in Colorado can make resisting a common no-no when it comes to ear cleaning hard to resist.

“Colorado is very dry so if you're using Q-tips (on your ears) one of two things is happening. One, you're taking away all that natural oil and lubrication and you're drying your skin out, which then makes you itchy. Two, if you are a heavy wax producer you're pushing it into the bony portion of the ear where it can't work its way out. If the wax stays in the cartilaginous portion jaw movement and things will help it wiggle its way out. What we have happen is people will come in and they'll say, ‘I was using my Q-tip and now all of a sudden I can't hear.’ They pack it in completely, and we can even see the outline of the Q-tip in their ear wax.”

Dr. Iliff says they have even had patients use other items to try and clean out their ears leading to bigger problems than impacted wax.

“We have heard of people using bobby pins and the danger there is you don't know how deep you're going (in the ear). We've had people accidentally punctured their eardrums which opens things up to infection and the little bones in there dislocating.”

Dr. Iliff says If you're going to clean your ears there are a couple of safe ways to do it at home.

“Leave the Q-tips in the drawer, the best practices typically are just letting warm water into your ear while you're in the shower then letting it drain out. Some people use those little bulbs that we use for babies to gently flush out the ear naturally.”

If earwax is really giving you problems and your not sure how to best deal with it, go see an expert. At Hearing Consultants in Colorado Springs they have special equipment that is very gentle that can effectively remove earwax.

Dr. Iliff says, “If you feel like you've got a decrease in your hearing because of earwax come see us, it's a 5-minute appointment and we will get you on your way.”

If you have any questions, follow up with the folks at Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs.

Hearing Consultants of Colorado Springs is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family