Many people believe they should manually clean their ears, but this is not true. While maintaining proper hygiene is always a good idea, cleaning the ears can be tricky, and requires caution. Consider the four following common ear-cleaning mistakes:

Using cotton swabs

Ever dig a cotton swab into your ear? This act is likely the one that everybody has been guilty of at some time or another. The thing is, cotton swabs aren’t supposed to go into your ears. Doing so can damage your eardrum, rupturing it, which can lead to hearing loss.

That isn’t the only issue with cotton swabs. Inserting anything into the ear will push earwax deeper into your ear canal. This can cause a blockage right near the eardrum, and can cause infection, bacteria and viruses. In severe cases, it can even cause hearing loss.

Cleaning too frequently

Some people overproduce earwax, requiring some extra care. Washing the ears is as easy as wiping them gently with a warm, damp cloth. Earwax is, by nature, self cleaning, and doesn’t require additional attention. Cleaning the ears too often can cause irritation and discomfort.

Using harsh solutions

Today, there are many over-the-counter solutions available for excess earwax. If you decide to clean your ears using a softening agent solution, make sure the solution is natural, and not made with harsh solutions. Look for kits with a glycerin or oil-based solution. Earwax can be softened using at-home oils, like baby or olive oils.

Not seeing an audiologist when you have an impaction

Impactions can occur from severe build up or repeatedly inserting something (like a cotton swab) into the ear canal. Attempting to remove impacted earwax yourself will be problematic to your ear health. Seeing an audiologist as soon as possible will ensure you remove your impaction in the safest way.

Consider the advice when beginning a healthy ear cleaning regimen. Do your best to avoid inserting items, such as cotton swabs, into the ear canal, as doing so can cause more damage. In addition, clean the ears using gentle and simple measures. If you find you are experiencing hearing loss or muffled noises, contact your audiologist for additional support and help.