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Can Digging in Your Ears Cause Tinnitus or Damage?

Earwax can be a problem for many people. Although earwax should leave your ears on its own, it can sometimes build up and cause your ears to feel blocked or even painful. This might lead to you to try and find at-home solutions, such as using cotton buds to try and remove the wax. You might also sometimes be tempted to put your fingers or other things in your ears when you feel an itch. It can be irritating and scratching an itch is often the fastest way to deal with it. But putting anything in your ears could cause damage and even affect your hearing.


There are several ways you might try to deal with earwax yourself or attempt to clean your ears. You can find irrigation kits, ear candles, cotton swabs and other products that are marketed as helping with ear cleaning and earwax removal. Using these implements can range from having zero effect to making the problem worse, by pushing the wax deeper into your ear and even to being dangerous.

One thing to keep in mind is that your ears are very sensitive. The skin inside your ear is delicate and has a protective layer that you don’t want to remove. So even using a cotton swab to clean out your ears could leave them more vulnerable to infection. Experts warn against putting anything in your ear, in case you do any damage. Putting any implements in your ear could lead to cuts or abrasions, perforated eardrums or even dislocated hearing bones in some cases.

Excessive ear cleaning could also have the opposite of the desired effect if you’re trying to keep earwax away. It can irritate the ear canal and cause more earwax to be produced, as well as increase the risk of earwax impaction. Impacted earwax can cause pain, itching, a feeling of fullness in the ear and even temporary hearing loss.


Trying to deal with earwax yourself could create issues with tinnitus. Tinnitus is the experience of hearing a ringing sound or other noise that doesn’t have an external source. Damage to the ear can be related to tinnitus, and this might include infections, fluid or damage to the middle ear bones or eardrum. These things can occur if you try to clean your ears yourself, instead of getting a professional to carry out the cleaning.

Some people might find that when they have a buildup of wax, it can cause tinnitus. The impacted earwax can lead to a ringing or other noises in the ear, which can be annoying and even distressing. However, putting anything in your ear to try and deal with it is likely to make the problem worse.


If you want to keep your ears clean and healthy, you should make sure that you find a professional service for ear cleaning. Your ears are self-cleaning, and for the most part, they will stay clean on their own without you having to do anything. However, there might be some occasions when you are dealing with a problem of impacted or built-up earwax. When this happens, you need a hearing care professional who knows how to safely clean your ears. Removing earwax is performed using a few different methods. Minor earwax blockages can sometimes be performed at home with a kit that is designed to help with safe removal. These usually have a liquid to help soften the wax and a bulb syringe, which you then used to flush out the softened wax with warm water.

Do you know your hearing care provider, can perform earwax removals too? More serious earwax blockages may need the help of a professional. When this is necessary, they will generally use one of two methods. They will use either irrigation or curettage. Irrigation is like the method that you might use at home with an at-home earwax removal kit. However, it usually uses a stronger medication to help remove the earwax. Curettage is a less common method, which uses an instrument called a curette. This is a long, curved tool that is sometimes used together with suction to remove wax from the ear.

If you think that your ears need to be cleaned, see a professional, instead of trying to clean them at home. It’s much safer to get professional care.

Get in touch with one of our hearing care professionals to find out more about your hearing health. Call today to visit one of our convenient locations at 1-888-553-7520.