Definitive Guide to Hearing Health

March 21, 2019

Article by Amy Andrews, Earpiece Online. 

We all understand how important our ears and hearing are to our everyday life, particularly for people that use radio earpieces. But have you ever thought about how you can keep your ears healthy?

As the old saying goes, ‘you should never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear’. It sounds reasonable until you consider the size of cotton buds, biros, earphones and pinkie fingers. If you think about it, there are a lot of things we put into our ears – and all of them, by default, are smaller than our elbows. …But those things are all safe, right? I mean, how much damage could the corner of a towel really do?

Well, as it turns out, quite a lot.

In fact, most earwax blockages result from the improper use of a simple cotton bud. That got your attention, didn’t it? Cotton buds are not actually designed to go inside your ear canal (or anybody else’s for that matter – this isn’t limited just to you). Often, shoving a cotton bud into your ear simply compacts the wax that’s already in there. Making a kind of, I don’t know, SUPER WAX, which then needs to be removed by professionals.

So, if you are, shall we say, ‘delving too deeply into the unknown’, the wax you are trying to get OUT of your ears can slide even further INTO your ears. Pushing against the tide of migrating cells, where it all compacts and accumulates like, um, a great big ball of ear wax (I didn’t have a good simile there. Sorry). Anyway, that’s how regular use of cotton buds and other ear-bound items can have a fairly bad effect on the health of your ears

Even going as far as to affect the quality of your hearing. So you see, there is a lot of truth to that old saying about elbows and ears!

K, so your inner ear is itchy, getting out and that paperclip on your desk seems as good a tool as any. Perhaps it would be OK to give it a quick scratch? Just for a few seconds of blessed relief? No. No it wouldn’t. In fact, your ear won’t get nearly as itchy if you follow these simple tips…

  • Leave it Alone! The ear is actually self-cleaning, so if earwax isn’t the problem, you’re actually better off leaving it alone. Interrupting the process only makes things worse, hence all the itchy. Earwax (or cerumen) is a normal part of the ear’s function. It helps to protect and lubricate your ears. It even has antibacterial properties. Without the mighty wax-wizard Cerumen, your ears would be itchy, dry and uncomfortable all the time.
  • Of course, we all need to ‘clear the neighborhood’ on occasion. The safest way to do this is by taking a damp cloth and gently cleaning the outer areas of your ears. Cotton balls are also good here, provided you don’t insert them into your ear canal.
  • Earwax softener is widely available and can make the process of cleaning your ears considerably easier.
  • Talk to your doctor about removing any waxy build-ups during your exam/check-up/social event that you’re both attending (My doctor never had any problems with it. Sadly, I was told that he unexpectedly moved to Peru right after I asked him about earwax at his Niece’s Bat Mitzvah. Shame that).
  • No Sharp Objects! – Never use sharp or pointed objects in your ears. Also, avoid ear candles (while we’re at it, never try to make your own candles from ear wax – they smell funny).
  • You might also want to irrigate your ears with a syringe. This process involves gently rinsing out your ears with saline solution. For best results, use a wax softener about 15 – 30 minutes beforehand.

It may seem obvious, but the level of care and attention you give to your ears directly affects the quality of your hearing. So, it is definitely worth looking after your ears.



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