Health Watch — Ear Care: Ear Wax

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Taking good care of your ears is important for maintaining your hearing. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about how you should care for your ears. One thing you may think you need to do for your ears could actually be harmful.

There are a number of products available to help remove ear wax, but in most cases, this is unnecessary. Dr. Peter Roland, chairman of otolaryngology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says ear wax serves an important function in protecting the ear. Efforts to remove it could cause damage. Using cotton swabs or other tools to clean your ears pushes ear wax deeper into the ear, where it can build up to the point it causes pain or hearing problems. Usually, ear wax comes out on its own, but if you have pain, ringing in the ears, itching or hearing problems, you’ll need to see a doctor to have it removed safely.

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UT Southwestern’s clinical services in ears, nose and throat.


September 2008

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