Have You Heard How Earphones Can Cause Ear Wax Build-Up?
Nowadays, earphones are a necessary part of life! Obviously, they are extremely popular for a reason – they allow us to talk on the phone to people without needing our hands, they can provide us with a form of entertainment wherever we go, and they mean we can work from home during COVID-19 without colleagues hearing the kids!
You might not be aware that earphones can be quite harmful to our ears. Not only can they cause hearing loss if the volume is too high, they can also increase wax build-up, which can cause impacted wax which can be uncomfortable and even debilitating. So, if you’ve been having earwax problems, your earphones might be the culprit.
Why Do Earphones Cause Ear Wax Build-Up?
Despite common misconceptions, ear wax is actually very normal and helps our ears to stay healthy. Ear wax traps unwanted particles and debris which enter our ears, helps lubricate and protect our ear canals, prevents infection, and even deters insects due to its bitter taste!
Healthy ears are self-cleaning, and so will remove the wax which has caught this dirt and debris through a ‘conveyor belt’ motion. This motion, combined with chewing or talking, allows the wax that has made its way to our outer ear to fall away inconspicuously, or be wiped away.
Earphones, however, prevent this self-cleaning action from happening. They block the wax which is supposed to be carried out. If this happens often enough, over long periods of time, the wax will build up so much that it will become impacted and block your ears. If there’s enough wax build-up, earphones can sometimes push the wax in your ear deeper, which may cause trauma to your eardrum.
How to Avoid Wax Build-Up from Earphones
But don’t despair! If you are prone to wax build up, the Earworx team can give you some tips to avoid these problems.
- Switch to headphones – Headphones are almost just as convenient as earphones (other than their not being able to fit in your pocket) and are not as bad for wax build-up as earphones. They’re certainly not perfect, as they still tend to trap sweat and moisture in your ears, but they at least don’t block the self-cleaning mechanism of your ears, nor do they push the wax further in, impacting it even more.
- Clean your earphones every time you wear them – When you leave your earphones lying around, they accumulate dirt and bacteria.Try using an old toothbrush to clean them – leave the wax to dry on the earphones overnight, then in the morning simply brush it away using the toothbrush. An alcohol wipe can then be used to sanitise the surface.
- Give your ears some breathing time – You don’t have to give up your earphones completely, but you’d be surprised by how often you use them out of habit and not because they’re necessary. If you’re at home, play your music out loud; at the gym, watch the TV and listen to the music they’re playing on the speakers; if you have a free hand, hold your phone up to your face when taking a call.
Ear Wax Removal
If you’ve been wearing earphones non-stop for the past few weeks, month, or years and are suffering from wax build-up or impaction, you might find yourself reaching for a cotton bud to get rid of the annoying feeling of an ear full of wax. But you might not realise that cotton buds can be dangerous and will often impact the wax further, as well as potentially rupturing your eardrum. In fact, many at-home remedies can damage your ears.
Curettage and Micro-Suction
The technique recommended by Ears Nose and Throat specialists, and the most effective and safest way to remove ear wax, is curettage and micro-suction. Through the combination of fine tools and micro-suction, impacted earwax is carefully removed. Micro-suction – which is like a mini vacuum cleaner that literally sucks the ear wax from your ears – means that there is no need to touch or even get close to your eardrum through the process. At Earworx, this procedure is carried out by an experienced registered nurse.
Overall, the process is quick and easy, and unlike other wax removal techniques, thoroughly ensures that all impacted wax is removed. As a dry technique, it also allows people who are unable to have their ears syringed with water to have their built-up wax removed.