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How to Clean Your Ears

A Comprehensive Guide to Take Care of Your Ears

Man with clean ears

How to clean ears? I’m often asked. Besides of cleaning ear wax, taking care of ears include trimming your ear hair, massaging pressure points in your ears and keeping them healthy. As a sense organ your ears have a lot of nerve endings connecting to other parts of your body, particularly internal organs. Yet, most of us are not doing anything to this important body part. This comprehensive guide helps you to take better care of your ears, thus your body, plus a practical comparison of all ear wax removal home remedies.

What you will learn

Take Good Care of Your Ears Regularly

Ear cleaning seems to be an afterthought to most people when they sense an ear blockage. However, in Asia, ear cleaning is like a massage, manicure pedicure or hair cut, something you do regularly for self care and holistic reasons.

You can do this at home by yourself or with people you care for. You can also receive such service from salons in China, Japan, Vietnam and most Asian countries. The process is simple and extremely relaxing.

Trim Ear Hair

We all grow hair on lobes and around the ear canal, no matter men or women. They are sometimes visually distracting. Trimming those hair gives you a clean appearance to retain a more sophisticated personal image. It’s an important grooming detail to keep up with.

You can choose to wax them, trim them with scissors or an electric trimmer. Yet, the easiest, most economical and eco-friendly way is dry shaving them with a Ear Hair Shaver.

The soothing shaving sound, like a little bird whispering into your ears, will amaze and destress you.

Remember it’s not necessary to shave thoroughly, the aim is to trim long hair and keep things neat.

Remove Loose Ear Wax or Outer Ear Dead Skin

Ear wax, aka cerumen, helps protect and lubricate your ears. A healthy and active lifestyle, although challenging to most busy city people, removes earwax naturally.

Alternatively, you can spoon out loose ear wax, gently sweep off dead skin in your outer ear to prevent ear wax blockage or impacted ears. Then simply sweep the ears surfaces to prepare for the next step – massage your ears.

Massage Pressure Points in the Ears

As I mentioned in the beginning, your ears have a lot of nerve endings connecting to other parts of your body, particularly internal organs, which makes massaging the ears pressure points therapeutic.

I will talk about specific ear pressure points and their corresponding body parts in future blog articles. Don’t forget to bookmark this blog or subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter.

For beginners, you can start with gently massaging the front and back side of the outer ear, gradually moving towards ear canal with the ball head ear massage tool, but not inside the ear canal. Listen to your body and adjust the touch accordingly.

You can do it yourself. Better is someone you trust, a family member or partner who does this for you or you do it for them. It’s definitely one of the most intimate activities.

If you are the one giving the massage, always remember to ask for feedback, so you can give the person whom you care for the best experience. That conversation in itself is relationship bonding.

Massaging pressure points in your ears is a stimulating and relaxing experience. It decreases tension instantly and promotes overall well being.

6 Tips to Keep Your Ears Healthy

Like any body part, to keep your ears healthy, you need to mindfully protect them.

1. Turn the Volume Down

I know it looks cool to put on your headphone and volume up, but it’s really not good for your ears. The World Health Organization’s research shows that 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss due to unsafe use of audio devices.

Always follow the 60/60 rule when using headphones or earbuds, meaning listen with headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.

2. Use Earplugs around Loud Noises

About 15% of Americans have noise-induced hearing loss because of loud work or leisure environments. Keep a pair of earplugs with you all the time if you are often exposed to such an environment.

3. Keep Ears Dry

Too much moisture allows bacteria to enter and attack your ear canal, which can cause swimmer’s ear or other types of ear infections.

Always towel-dry your ears after bathing or swimming by tilting your head to the side and tugging lightly on the ear lobe to coax the water out.

4. Take Time to Recover

After being exposed to loud noises for a prolonged period of time, like at a concert or a club, your ears need time to recover. Step outside for five minutes every so often to rest them.

Researchers have found that, on average, your ears need 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out.

5. Exercise Helps

So get up and go walking, running, or cycling. Cardio exercise pumps blood to every part of your body, including the ears. It helps the ears’ internal parts stay healthy and work to their maximum potential as a sense organ.

6. Reduce Stress

High level of stress and anxiety turn your body into fight or flight mode – an instinctual reaction that fills your body with adrenaline to help you either fight or flee from dangerous or stressful situations.

That process puts a lot of pressure on your nerves, blood flow, body heat, and more. All that affects your inner ear and contributes to tinnitus symptoms, a phantom ringing in the ears.

Bookmark This Article

Now you know how to clean ears and keep them healthy. Bookmark this article and always refer back when you need.

Next, let’s compare some ear wax removal home remedies and see what solution suits you best.

Honestly, it’s almost amusing how people clean ears in such complicated ways, while it can be really simple and enjoyable.

ear cleaning solutions comparison
Home solutions and remedies for cleaning your ears

Home solutions and remedies for cleaning your ears

There are many ways to clean ears at home. The most “common” or “best known” ways however are actually the worst. They are cotton swabs and ear candles.

Cotton Swabs

It’s the most handy and easiest approach. I know sticking two cotton swabs into your ears and twitching around in your ear canal feels good, especially after a shower, but it does more damage to your ears than good, because it literally pushes ear wax deeper into your ear canal which can cause blockage or an infection. So don’t do it any more.

Ear Candles

Ear candles have repeatedly failed in researches and studies to demonstrate any ability to remove earwax. Totally ineffective, avoid at all cost.

Ear Irrigation Solutions – At-Home Earwax Removal

Most of, if not all, home remedies are ear irrigation with different oils, hydrogen peroxide or warm water mixed with some solution.

So many home remedy articles out there are actually for ad or affiliate purposes only, I seriously doubt those writers or bloggers have actually tried any of them. I did and apparently, they don’t work. The reasons are simple:

  1. If you ever cleaned your ears the Asian way or by an ENT doctor, you know how big and solid ear wax debris is. Especially if you have impacted ears, you most likely have large pieces of wet ear wax. To dissolve that debris with warm water, any kind of oil or hydrogen peroxide mixture, this is simply not practical.
  2. The recommended last step is cleaning out the ear wax with a soft cloth or cotton swab. Isn’t that back to square one? That will move or push the ear wax back into your ear canal.

Leave a comment if you have tried any of those ear irrigation solutions and your thoughts on that.

For the moment, let’s dig deeper on those solutions.

If you have diabetes, a not so strong immune system, sensitive skin, or you suspect you have a perforated eardrum, consult your doctor before attempting any kind of ear irrigation solutions. If you are suffering from severe ear pain, fluid discharge from the ear, and hearing impairment, you should definitely stay away from those solutions.

Ear Irrigation Comparison

  • Supplies:
    • Diluted hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration)
    • Olive, almond, coconut etc., oil
    • Syringe or Bulb aspirator
    • Cotton balls
    • Towel or soft cloth
    • Eye dropper
    • Bowls
  • Time to do: A single application takes 15 – 30 minutes, you may need to apply the procedure multiple times depending on your ear wax conditions.
  • Cost: Overall cost is low, most of the supplies you already have at home. Hydrogen peroxide costs $6.50 for 16 ounces. Oil prices vary depending on quality, origin and size. As you use only a few drops for each application, the individual cost for the solution is very low. Bulb aspirators (2 ounces) are $4.90 for a 3 pack.
  • Comfort: If you have someone do it for you, then at least you can lay down and take a rest, as you need to keep still. Other than that, there is not much added comfort or benefits to those solutions.
  • Convenience: If you do it yourself, you have to stretch your arms and bend your neck to keep the liquid contained in your ear. It will be much easier if you have someone you trust do it for you. The part of draining or flushing out the liquid can be a bit messy.
  • Eco-friendliness: Hydrogen peroxide and oil container, eye dropper, syringe and bulb aspirator are usually made of plastic. You need to use clean soft cloth to dry your ears, that means you need to use power, water and laundry detergent to wash the towels.

Let’s take a quick look at different types of ear irrigation home remedies.

Ear Irrigation with Hydrogen Peroxide

If you feel discomfort with your ears, the problem might be something other than an earwax buildup. If it’s something more serious, peroxide can make the problem much worse.

In case you do want to use it for some reason, strictly follow the instructions. Don’t go creative on the hydrogen peroxide home remedy. The proper solution is 3% hydrogen peroxide, 97% water.

Ear Irrigation with Warm Water, Salt Water or Warm Water with Baking Soda

These are more gentle solutions. Test the water before pouring it into your ears. Body temperature is ideal. Cold or hot water can cause dizziness.

Dry your ears thoroughly after each application. Otherwise it may cause other symptoms complicating the situation.

Ear Irrigation with Baby Oil, Mineral Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Glycerin, Tea Tree Oil or Any Type of Oil

Some people may like, others hate the feeling of oil in the ears. Either way, draining and drying is challenging, because it’s not easy to clean out oil thoroughly. The oil remaining in your ears may in turn cause other symptoms when mixed with moisture and other debris.

It’s also important to make sure the oil you use is pure and clean.

Ear Irrigation with Apple Cider Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol

Some experts say this is the most effective ear irrigation remedy for cleaning ear wax, because apple cider vinegar contains antibacterial elements to help kill an infection and drain out any mucous. The mixture combined with alcohol helps to break up the wax.

In addition to the ear irrigation supplies, for a single application you need two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and rubbing alcohol respectively.

Ear Irrigation with Garlic Ear Drops

Garlic is a natural antibiotic due to its allicin content, a powerful antimicrobial agent that can fight off any infection and relieve the pain. It’s been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

For ear irrigation, you need to make garlic oil by infusing sesame oil with garlic. Warm up 1 – 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, crush 2 – 3 garlic cloves and add them to the oil.

Heat the oil until cloves turn black, then turn off the heat and cool it down to room temperature. Never put hot oil into your ears, which could cause vertigo or other serious complications.

When the oil cools down to the right temperature, you can discard the garlic and draw the liquid into your dropper to use.

Same as other irrigation method, make sure you drain out the garlic oil from your ear completely when done.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

It’s said that deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids is one of the causes for producing excessive earwax. So increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, accompanied with healthy and active lifestyle, can help.

Omega-3 Comparison

  • Staple:
    • Walnuts
    • Avocados
    • Ground flaxseed
    • Many fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. I’m a vegan so I leave fish out.
  • Time to do: A long term solution.
  • Cost: Higher than other solutions, but eating walnuts, avocados and flaxseed is good for you anyway.
Ear Cleaning Tool Set
Asian Ear Cleaning Tool Set

How to Clean Ears the Asian Way

In Japan, China, Vietnam and most Asian countries, people have been using those simple tools to clean ears for thousands of years. It’s very straight forward, simply process to spoon out ear wax. That’s it.

I know there is a saying “Don’t put anything smaller than your elbow into your ears”. But it’s really easier and safer than you imagine. Start slow and feel where the tools reach and spoon out the excessive ear wax.

The touches, sweeps and massage by the tools stimulate your blood flow which is vital for proper ear function and maintenance, making any kind of cardiovascular activity a great boon for the ears!

Asian Ear Cleaning Comparison

  • Supplies:
  • Time to do: 20 – 40 minutes. It feels so good that most people just can’t get enough of it.
  • Cost: The 9 pieces ear cleaning tool set costs $39.95. The same set with roll case costs $49.90.
  • Comfort: The gentle touch on your ears is extremely relaxing. It’s more leisure enjoyment than a task. In fact, people call it “intercourse for your ears” in Asia.
  • Convenience: You can easily do it yourself. Go slowly and gradually get used to it. Better will be having someone do it for you, like your parents or partner. You can also do it for them or whoever you care for.
  • Eco-friendliness: Myearpick is a plastic-free operation. Except for the down puff that requires regular replacement for sanitary reason, the other tools can last a life time with proper care. For hygienic reasons, each person needs his or her own set of tools.

You can get the ear cleaning tools here. Or leave a comment if you have any questions.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for medical advice.

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