The ear wax cleaning madness must stop March 31, 2006Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Science & Technology.
Dr. Paul J. Camp, Spelman College, Department of Physics is in the don't-pick-your ears camp: Oh for god's sake, this has gone on long enough.Ear wax is there for a reason. It has antibacterial properties as well as preventing dirt and bugs from going further into your hearing system. Excess earwax is pushed naturally to the opening of the ear canal, where it is washed away, pushed out as the cerumen glands secrete more wax and also by epithelial migration as your skin goes through its replacement cycle.
From the Mayo Clinic: "Never attempt to dig out excessive or hardened earwax with items such as a paper clip, a cotton swab or a hairpin. You may push the wax farther into your ear and cause serious damage to the lining of your ear canal and even to your eardrum." Wanna go deaf? Stick a bobby pin in your ear. See herefor what it looks like when you've been packing that stuff in for a while.
Even if you don't do that, simply scratching or abrading the skin in the ear canal provides a protected growth site for fungus — the dreaded swimmer's ear. I had this once when psoriasis broke up the skin in my ear. You don't want it. Also, removal of impacted ear wax, from pushing it further down in the ear, is inevitably very painful.
Now there are a VERY FEW people who have excessive wax secretions and need to have it cleaned out every now and again. The solution to that is a few drops of mineral oil to soften up the wax and, a day or two later, a bit of warm water or hydrogen peroxide squirted up the ear canal.
And for god's sake, don't stick a candle in your ding dang ear. Ear wax cannot be sucked out by a candle. There are easier ways to set your head on fire.