Medical Definition of Ear cleaning (yourself)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017

Ear cleaning (yourself): Wax is not formed in the deep part of the ear canal near the eardrum, but only in the outer part of the canal. Attempts at self-cleaning with cotton swabs, keys, pins, or other objects can impact wax deeper into the canal. This can also impair or damage normal eardrum function. Infection of the ear canal (otitis external) may result from skin damage to the ear canal.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017