As tempting as it is to stick a Q-tip in your ear and clean it out, don’t do it.

Michael Smith, WebMD Medical Director and Chief Medical Editor, has a helpful analogy to prevent any such urges. He compares ears to a self-cleaning oven: “You shouldn't have to do anything [major] to keep them clean, especially the inside—the canals.”

But what if you’ve got excess ear wax piling up? (And how do you even know if it’s in excess?) We’ve got you covered; read on.