Listen up: Doctors release new guidelines for earwax

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Regular ear cleaners, drop the cotton swabs. Experts say you should scale back your hunt for earwax.

The new recommendations come from the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Doctors offered six practices to avoid, including over-cleaning your ears, and putting cotton swabs or other small objects in your ears to clear out wax.

“It’s quite easy to abrade or scratch the skin in the ear canal, which can lead to a pretty nasty infection. 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,” Dr. Seth Schwartz of the American Academy of Otolaryngology said.

While some believe people ear candling is a safer alternative, doctors called it an unfounded “fad” that can also hurt your eardrums.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology said earwax is a naturally occurring substance that protects the ear canal and it doesn’t need cleaning away unless is causing a problem or in the way of a doctor’s examination. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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