Earwax Removal the Safe Way
Ear wax removal seems to be such a trivial topic, and is often dismissed as something ordinary. For some people that may be the case, but for others, it would be surprising to note that they may be unaware of the unsafe practices they have been employing for the longest time. As for ear wax itself, what do we really know about it? Instead of lecturing about ear wax and how to remove our ear wax safely, why don’t we have a test instead? You love tests, right?
Before you put anything in your ear, make sure you read through the entire hub first. Try to see how much of these ear-boggling questions you can answer correctly.
You know you are having excessive ear wax problems when you experience the following symptoms:
- There are noises in your ear which are downright uncomfortable
- You have an earache that is persistent
- Your eyesight is blurred
- Uh-oh, dreaded hearing loss which seems to be getting worse
- Feels like something is stuck or plugged up inside your ear
If you pick all of the numbers above except number three, your symptoms most likely indicate an ear wax problem. The only time we need to remove ear wax is when there is an excessive amount of it found in our ears. Too much ear wax can contribute to the slow, progressive loss of hearing.
Ear Wax True or False
All of the statements below are true except for one. Which statement is false?
- Ear wax is also known as cerumen.
- In healthy amounts, ear wax acts as a temporary water repellent.
- Most of the time, ear canals are self-cleaning where old ear wax is transported from the ear canal to the ear opening where it dries, flakes, and falls out.
- Ear wax is formed in the deep part of the ear canal near the eardrum.
- Ear wax helps maintain a certain pH balance in your ear, thus preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi.
All statements are true except for number four. Earwax is not formed in the deep part of the ear canal near the eardrum, but in the outer part of the canal. The skin of the outer part of the canal has glands that produce our ear wax! What an amazing thing! The function of this wax is to trap dust and dirt so it won’t reach our highly sensitive eardrums.
Ear Cleaning True or False
Ear canals are normally self-cleaning as we mentioned earlier. In some cases, we do get bothered by an excessive amount of ear wax. So, what is the best way to remove our ear wax safely?
- Clean the ear canal with the use of cotton swabs.
- Soften the wax by placing a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial drops in the ear. Repeat this for about a week.
- The use of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and flushing it out with water.
- Wash the external ear with a cloth but do not insert anything into the ear canal.
All answers are correct except for number one. Cotton swabs (or any other pointed objects like pencils, cotton-tipped applicators, bobby pins, or toothpicks) should never be used to clean ear wax in the ear canal. Doing this will merely push the wax deeper into the ear canal and may block the eardrum.
I normally would use number two, which is to soften the wax by placing a few drops of baby oil; this normally works magically. Thankfully, the only time I needed to do this was when I was still a child.
If you use hydrogen peroxide or H202, you will notice the oxygen bubbling off and that there will be some water left behind in the ear. This wet and warm condition of your ear canal is not ideal since it can breed bacteria. Make sure to flush the ear canal with rubbing alcohol to displace the water and dry the canal skin.
Warning: If alcohol causes severe pain, this is an indication that there might be an eardrum perforation.
Never Hesitate to Consult a Doctor
Listen to your body when it speaks to you. If you feel that these home remedies will not help your ear wax problem, go visit your doctor right away! The otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) may prescribe eardrops designed to soften the wax or remove the wax using microscopic visualization.
If you feel that you might have a hole in your eardrum, be sure to consult your physician before trying these home treatments. Putting any solution like ear drops or other products including water in your ear with the possibility of an eardrum perforation may cause a serious infection.
Did you breeze through the test with flying colors?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2009 Michelle Simtoco