Discover how often to clean ears

The reason we feel tempted to clean our ears is often because of a substance called cerumen, commonly referred to as earwax.

It’s normal for your body to produce earwax, and it actually helps protect and lubricate your ears. If you didn’t have earwax, your ears would probably be itchy and dry.

Earwax  even has antibacterial properties, which means your ears are self-cleaning. Earwax is like a filter for your ears, keeping out harmful things like dirt and dust, and trapping them so they don’t go deep inside.

However, if it does build up inside your ear canal, especially if it clogs the canal, then you should clean it out, but how often should you clean your ears? Is it bad to clean your ears everyday? That depends on your genetics and the environment you live in. 

How often are you supposed to clean your ears?

You have a normal amount of ear wax

How do you know what’s ‘normal’? Essentially, consider yourself normal if you don’t usually have any earwax buildup. This means your ears are doing a good job of taking care of themselves.  In this case, the most you’ll need to do is wipe gently around the outside areas of your ears after a shower. Let your ears’ self-cleaning process do the rest.

You sometimes produce more ear wax than normal

If you sometimes produce more earwax than normal then you could have an irritated ear canal possibly caused by over cleaning, environmental pollutants, or maybe wearing earbuds too much. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what causes this but here are a few symptoms of earwax buildup.

  • Tinnitus - this is ringing or popping sounds in your ears and although there can be other causes a common one is an earwax buildup. If the earwax is plugging up your ear canal it may also sound like your ears are popping and constantly re-pressurizing.
  • Hearing loss - obviously if earwax plugs up your canal you will have trouble hearing all of a sudden.
  • Pain - if your ear hurts but you don’t have other signs of an infection then it might just be earwax buildup.
  • If your ears feel clogged that might be indicative of excess earwax. 

You typically product excessive amounts of ear wax

If you consistently produce excessive amounts of earwax it might be totally normal for you and actually linked to your genetics. If you clean your ears regularly, but still experience plugs or infections then you should see a doctor to determine the cause and best means of treatment.

Exposure to debris and irritants

Just like your sinuses and allergies can be affected by pollen count, your ears and earwax production can be affected by environmental pollution.

If you live near a factory that puts out environmental pollutants or work in a dusty workplace. Exposure to  tiny particles can irritate your ears and stimulate extra earwax production.

If you suspect this is an issue, protect yourself by wearing hats and ear protection when pollen counts and environmental pollutants are high and limit your time outside.

You are experiencing ear pain or discomfort

If you are experiencing ear pain or discomfort you should hold off on cleaning them and ask yourself if you think you might have an infection. Do you have a fever and swelling around the ear? If so you should see a doctor to determine if the infection is viral or bacterial and how to best treat it. If you are confident you don’t have an infection, it could just be a wax buildup that you need to clean out.

Check your ears with a ScopeAround otoscope

If you frequently have irritated ears or ear wax build up then it might be a good idea to buy an ear wax removal camera. A home otoscope inspection can tell how often should you remove ear wax.

ScopeAround was the first company to make an ear inspection camera for consumer use and they have the most experience and customer feedback manufacturing these devices.

ScopeAround makes ear cleaning cameras that are stand-alone devices as well as ones that are compatible with iPhone (iOS) and Android mobile devices as well as PC (Windows) or Mac (OSX) computers.