Ear specialists often remind us not to use cotton swabs to clean the ear, but many of us reach for one the moment we think we have a build-up of earwax.

Every year, many enter an hearing centre clinic in Malaysia for various negative consequences associated with “do it yourself” ear cleaning, such as punctured eardrums and super impacted wax.

Please remember nothing should be used inside the ear to remove dirt and debris. Some of the most ‘interesting’ things seen in the doctors’ offices include:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Hair pins
  • Tweezers
  • Pens and pencils
  • Straws
  • Paper clips
  • Toys

This is very dangerous and you could lose your hearing or damage your ear canal or eardrum.

Earwax keeps our ears healthy and it should be in there. It traps dust and dirt so that they don’t travel deeper into your ears. Your ear canal skin is very delicate so having a waxy coating helps to protect it.

Cotton swabs push the earwax in the ear canal deeper and deeper in.

And once the wax is deeper inside, you cannot get it out of the ear. It can only be swept out with the help of your ear specialist.

Another problem is that cotton swabs can cause punctured ear drums and hearing loss. In some cases, the cotton swab can damage the sensitive structure in your ears and you can become completely deaf. In addition, you may also suffer from prolonged vertigo with nausea and vomiting, loss of taste function and even facial paralysis.

Do you know your body can deal with earwax that no longer need to be there? Chewing, jaw movements and skin growing inside your ears will push old earwax out naturally.

left ear

So what’s the best way to remove earwax?

Let’s begin by explaining what earwax is.

Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance that your body makes.


  • Earwax is slightly acidic, which helps fight bacteria and fungus in the ear.
  • Earwax is slightly oily, which provides a waterproof barrier for the ear canal skin.

Earwax build-up is not very common, and one do not need to do anything to clean earwax out because a natural cleaning system is already there in the ear canal to sweep cerumen out.

In some occasions, your ears do make an excessive amount of wax for certain reasons.

Here are the signs you should look out for to see if you have too much earwax or if the ear canal is blocked:

  • Pain or itchy
  • Tinnitus: ringing in the ear
  • You feel your ear is full
  • Hearing loss
  • If you use hearing aids, you notice a change in how well it works
  • Odour
  • Discharge

If you have any of these symptoms, visit a doctor or go to an ENT Clinic in Malaysia as soon as possible to know the cause.

In those cases, your ear specialist will often recommend an ear lavage. An ear lavage is where warm water is flushed into the ear canal to gently wash away the wax. The procedure is pain free and works very well.

Your doctor will take particular caution if you have a hole in the eardrum or an active infection as excess water can cause pain and drainage.

If you are producing excess wax and it is becoming a frequent problem, ask your doctor if you can do the procedure at home.

One way to do it is with home care earwax systems.


Home care earwax system is generally safe to use, but sometimes can cause earwax to melt and residual wax can re-solidify inside the ear canal like cement against the eardrum. If this occurs, the only way to get it out is to visit your nearest ENT Clinic in Penang, Johor Bahru to carefully remove away from the eardrum.

If you think wax could be affecting your hearing, contact an ear specialist. Remember that he/she can look inside your ear using an otoscope, and recommend the best course of action.

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