Helpful Information

Ear Care

Healthy ears

Your ear canal is lined with skin. New skin cells grow from the centre of your ear drum, outwards, and down the canal like a conveyor belt. This forms a protective layer called keratin. It takes six months for the skin to move from the ear drum to the outer ear.

Wax is made only in the first 1cm of the canal. It is made up of dead skin, oil, and hairs, and constantly dissolves the keratin coming down the canal. The wax and keratin make the ear waterproof, antibacterial, and antifungal. Wax also keeps out water, insects, and dust.

Cleaning ears

Wax should be wiped away each day – wipe only from the outer edge of the ear opening with a towel or flannel. Do not let shower water, soap, or shampoo enter your ear canal. Lift your chin up when rinsing your head.

Do not use any object to clean or scratch inside your ear canal

If any object is inserted into the ear, the wax, dead skin, and debris gets pushed down further back into the canal. This may create a blockage or take away the protective skin layer which makes it easier for an infection to occur.

To scratch your ears to ease in itch

Press your finger onto your outer ear and rub it.

To dry your ears

Flap air in with your hand, a piece of cardboard or plastic, or use a hair dryer.

Hearing aids & ear plugs

These stop the normal self-cleaning process. Check for wax every 6 months, especially before swimming or diving.

Ear Muffs

Make ear canals warm and moist, which is a good environment for infections to grow. Remove muffs often, flap air in to dry.

Preserve your hearing

  • If your hearing suddenly changes, see TOLBECS or your doctor urgently.
  • Loud noise kills hearing cells. Avoid excessive noise and turn down the volume when possible.
  • Always wear earplugs or earmuffs when working in noise.
  • If your ears hurt when snorkeling or diving, then stop immediately.

Hints for healthy ears

  • Regular nose blowing helps keep the nasal passages clear which helps to reduce infections.
  • Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
  • Ears need to be kept clear and dry.
  • Always take medicine as prescribed (antibiotic ear drops usually for seven days).
  • Infected ears may need a swab to be sent to the lab to find out exactly what the infection is.
  • If you put anything in your ears (hearing aids, ear plugs, headphones etc) you should get them checked every 6 months for wax build up.
  • Come to TOLBECS for a Free Ear Canal Check


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