Our ear contains a substance called wax which forms an important part of the immune system of the ears. While the quantity of this wax is optimal because of the wax production and removal mechanisms of the ear, the wax might need additional cleanup once in a while.

During these processes, the aim is to improve the health of the ears while reducing symptoms of the buildup of the wax. However, some people feel an excruciating pain in their ears after cleaning them.

Are you also one of those people trying to find out why my ear hurts after cleaning? If yes, let us explore the causes of earache and ways to prevent it.

Common Signs and Symptoms After Cleaning Ears

Ear pain is one of the most hated ones globally because of the intensity of hurt. It is one of those organs that needs to be dealt with with extreme precision and tact as it can cause immense pain if anything goes wrong.

So, here are the three most common symptoms that might raise concerns about your ear-cleaning routine.

1. Earache and Tenderness

If there is a problem with the method of ear cleaning you are using, you will experience otalgia after cleaning the ears. Otalgia, also called earache presents in one of the following forms,

  • A burning or sharp pain in the ears that goes on for hours and days until you get it treated
  • Dull and persistent ear pain that occurs intermittently

The pain or tenderness in the ears results because of damage to the internal structures of the ears.

2. Itching or irritation in the ear

The oily substance inside your ear canal is known as Cerumen which is a lubricating substance that also traps dust and prevents bacteria and other harmful agents from entering or damaging the inside of your ear canal.

Generally called ear wax, it is produced by the sebaceous glands in the ears. When you are constantly cleaning your ears and removing ear wax from the ear canal you are removing that protective barrier.

Consequently, your skin dries out. Also, because of the lack of lubrication, you experience itching. Also, remember that it is easier for microorganisms to invade and attack your skin when there is no lubrication!

3. Hearing changes or decreased sensitivity

Another result of constant ear cleaning and using the wrong probes or casual objects in your ear is trauma to the ear canal. When you keep digging into your ear, you might experience the following,

  • Your ear canal might get injured
  • The tympanic membrane may get damaged
  • Hearing capacity changes
  • There is a decreased sensitivity to sound

Additionally, constant ear cleaning also leads to the removal of those sensitive hair cells responsible for the transmission of sensory information to the respective nerve cells resulting in decreased sensitivity.

3 Causes Why Ear Hurts After Cleaning

If your ear is aching after you have cleaned it, the following might be the reasons:

1. Inaccurate Cleaning techniques

If your ears have no pain before cleaning but hurt afterward, your cleaning technique might be the culprit, especially if you use cotton buds to clean the ears. These little objects act as a foreign body and push the wax deep into the ear canal causing blockage, infections, or trauma.

Also, when your ear gets an irritating stimulant such as the touch with Q-tips, the nerves in and around the ear send pain signals to your brain. Therefore, you perceive pain in or around the ears.

2. Impaction of Excessive Wax

Cerumen impaction is the accumulation of excessive wax around your middle and inner ear. It is a result of.

  •  Constant attempts to clean the ear wax
  • Not cleaning the ears when needed at all
  • An unhygienic lifestyle.

The result of this cerumen deposition inside the ear is ear pain and unrest.

3. Trauma to the Eardrum

Trauma to the eardrum means injury to the tympanic membrane. The tympanic membrane is a delicate structure inside the ears that can be injured by any improper act while cleaning. This situation can result in severe pain.

Not only this, you might experience problems with adequate hearing if there is damage to your ear canal.

Tips to Prevent Ear Pain After Cleaning

You should always keep in mind that wax is there to protect your ears. So, it is not something bad. It is rather the excess of the wax that needs cleaning.

However, cleaning it through improper methods can do more harm than good. Therefore, let us help you clean your ears safely with the help of the following tips and tricks. You should clean your ears every three weeks, not too often

  • Use of right ear-cleansers: Always use gentle ear cleaners to clean your ears, as harsh cleaners can sensitize your ears and cause pain.
  • Use of ear wax camera: You must also use gentle ear-cleaning tools if you are cleaning your ears by yourself. One of the professionally recommended gentle tool kits is the Bebird Note 5 Pro ear wax camera.
  • Stay on the surface: Never dig too deep inside your ears as you try to clean the ear wax because this will cause damage to the inner structures of the ear
  • Soften the hard wax: Use over-the-counter ear drops to soften the ear wax before cleaning as it makes the process more gentle
  • A much-need visit to the doctor: In case of any injuries or trauma to the inner or outer ear, immediately consult with an ENT specialist
  • Regular ENT checkups: Make sure that you regularly go for proper checkups and see your specialist. This is especially important if you have had a history of ear trauma or ear injury or if you notice any difference in your hearing ability.


Ear wax should be cleaned once every 3 weeks or more often if your ears are prone to the build-up of the wax. It is important to stay as gentle as possible while cleaning your ears as you might irritate the ear canal, cause trauma to the inner structures of the ears, or end up with perforation of the eardrum.

This can lead to unbearable pain and discomfort in the ears. Therefore, we talked about the causes and ways to prevent those causes of earache after cleaning the ears in this article.

Lastly, a pro tip for cleaning ears safely at home is the use of an ear wax removal camera by Bebird.

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