Doctors are updating guidelines on earwax and are urging people to stop cleaning their ears.
Experts from the American Academy of Otolaryngology said cleaning ears too frequently can cause major problems.
“There is an inclination for people to want to clean their ears because they believe earwax is an indication of uncleanliness,” said Dr. Seth Schwartz, chair of the guideline update group. “This misinformation leads to unsafe ear health habits.”
Doctors say earwax is a normal substance that the body produces to clean, protect and keep ears healthy. Excessive attempts to clean the ears could push the earwax down and lead to more buildup.
“It’s quite easy to abrade or scratch the skin in the ear canal, which can lead to a pretty nasty infection,” Schwartz said. “There’s also a risk that you can actually rupture or penetrate the eardrum, which can lead to really terrible problems as far as hearing and balance issues.”
While it is possible that earwax can build up and cause slight hearing loss or dizziness, it is best to see a doctor in those cases.
Doctors also said that using ear candles to clear out waxy buildup might not work and could cause severe burns and injury to the ear.