For some, removing earwax is a daily exercise. The common progression is to take a bath, towel the body, apply lotion and remove — in some cases — nonexistent earwax. And it doesn’t quite end there; some people go on to insert car keys, pen covers into their ear as the day progresses. The popular perception is that earwax is dirt — but is it really?
Earwax, like sweat, isn’t exactly a desirable fluid but it plays an important role in the body. The earwax cleanses the ear canal by gathering dead skin cells, hair, and dirt as it moves outward. That is not all. Earwax, from tests, has been proven to possess certain antibacterial and antifungal properties. An ear without wax is, in fact, worse when compared to one with a fair amount of wax.
On the one hand, if the ear doesn’t have enough wax, it is likely that it would feel itchy. On the other, if the ear builds up wax for a long time, it becomes hard and that causes a blockage in the ear canal.
The issue lies in how we deal with its excess.
You might be thinking: “Of course, use cotton buds to remove them! That’s what we were taught in Elementary”. (Feel free to visit your Primary school for a refund).
Cotton buds/swabs might seem like a better alternative to pen covers or feathers — if you enjoy tickling, but it is not exactly good.
Why? They might remove a little of the wax but they push more of it deeper into the ear.
A better alternative is to use over-the-counter drops to break up the wax. They are of both a water-based and oil-based formulations. These products lubricate, soften the wax, and ease it out.
With the head tilted and the target ear facing upwards, drop the fluid into the ear. Keep the head steady in that position for a minute or so and then tilt it downwards to let the wax drain out!