The biggest ear wax myths busted

The biggest ear wax myths busted

There's a wealth of misinformation about ear wax, some of which can lead people to inadvertently cause damage to their ears. We've compiled a list of four common ear wax myths so you can separate the truth from the lies! When getting advice about ear cleaning, it's essential to get your information from a trusted source like an ear clinic.

You need to clean your ears

Around 95% of Australians have ears that are naturally self-cleaning, without the need for any outside intervention. As ear wax starts to deteriorate, follicles (tiny hairs) in the skin of the ear gently and slowly move the sub-par ear wax towards the outside of the ear. Over a few weeks or months, the ear wax reaches the end of the ear canal and naturally falls out of the ear from jaw motions like talking and chewing. 

If you are one of the unfortunate 5% for whom excess ear wax is a problem, earwax microsuction is usually the safest, most effective removal solution.

Ear wax is dirty

Ear wax is a naturally secreted substance that performs an essential protective function in the ear. The wax traps foreign bodies and bacteria when they enter the ear, preventing them from penetrating deeper into the delicate auditory mechanism. In addition, wax also provides a layer of protection from physical trauma. The ear naturally discards old ear wax that is full of trapped bacteria and particles. As a result, any ear wax still in the ear is a clean, normal secretion performing a vital activity and should be left alone!

Cotton buds are good for cleaning ears

There's a lot of truth in the old saying, “Do not put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear!” Using a cotton bud to remove wax can even trigger excessive earwax production. And if you needed another reason to stop using earbuds, using them can even push old wax deeper into the ear canal, potentially leading to painful wax buildup that causes tinnitus and hearing loss.

Ear candles can clear blocked ears

Earwax candles are long, cone-shaped hollow candles that are typically made from beeswax and fabric. The pointy end of the candle is placed in your ear while the other end is lit. There is no evidence to suggest that ear candles assist in the removal of excess earwax. Quite the opposite! Ear candling proves to be an ineffective way to remove ear wax from an ear canal.  

Painful burns are not uncommon when using ear candles, and even when you use a plate or protective covering, the hot wax can still drip onto your skin or even into the ear canal and eardrum itself! The "earwax" that appears in the bottom of the used candles is actually melted paraffin wax from the candle.

Trust the ear experts at earLAB

Visit earLAB to get Melbourne's best earwax removal service. Book an appointment at earLAB in Richmond and Footscray to receive expert care and advice for your ears.