Ear cleaning is not as simple as it seems and has several risks associated with it. Even when you see an audiologist for your ear cleaning, you are subjecting yourself to certain side effects and possible complications. Keeping this in mind, it is easy to understand why amateur ear cleaning at home can be highly dangerous. Here are some mistakes to avoid if you end up cleaning your ears at home.

1. Cleaning too often

Many audiologists believe your ears don’t need cleaning at all. Our ears have a natural self-cleaning mechanism that lets debris and excess earwax effortlessly slip out of the ear canal. This usually happens during sleep or a bath and is encouraged by our mouth’s chewing action. However, if you still feel the need to clean your ears, make sure you do it sparingly. Our ears need earwax to protect them from disease-causing microbes and nosy insects that try to make their way into our ears.

2. Inserting sharp objects

Why inserting sharp objects into your ear canal is dangerous is a no-brainer. Apart from the obvious reason that sharp objects, such as fingernails, car keys, bobby pins or matchsticks, can damage the delicate inner parts of the ear, there is also the possibility that they may perforate the eardrum and lead to deafness. People that use cotton swabs in their wars also do more harm than good. Cotton swabs tend to push the mass of hardened earwax further into the ear canal, increasing the possibility of damage to the eardrum and causing earaches.

3. Using too many chemicals

Many at-home ear cleaners make use of hydrogen peroxide to clean their ears. Hydrogen peroxide, although a common household substance, is highly oxidizing in nature. People may insert it into their ears to soften earwax so that it can drain out. However, excessive use of hydrogen peroxide can lead to irritation of the skin inside the ear, which may cause inflammation and earaches.

4. Using hot oil

An age-old method of getting rid of excessive earwax at home, inserting a few drops of warm baby or mineral oil in your ears is generally safe. However, care must be taken of the temperature of the oil before you drop it in your ears. If you warm the oil too much, it may cause burns in the skin of your ears and may even cause irreversible damage to the inner parts of your ears. Make sure the oil you use is only lukewarm and will not burn you. You might want to test it on the inner part of your wrist first.

5. Using ear candling

Perhaps the most dangerous method of ear cleaning at home is using ear candling, which is strikingly similar to medieval torture techniques. This method involves the use of the smoke from a burning candle to soften earwax. However, things can easily go wrong. Audiologists have reported cases of severe burns and perforated eardrums that have occurred due to accidents during ear candling.