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Got an ear full of wax? It is a bummer

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Tips to Unclog Your Ear

For sure you already heard about to not clean your ear canal with cotton swabs or at least not with something you put inside of an ear canal which can push the wax even deeper all the way to the eardrum or maybe beyond it. Of course beyond the eardrum means the rupture of it.

Haven’t you heard that one before? Now you know!

Don’t clean your ears on your own and let the wax do its job.

 

Where Does the Earwax Come From?

The medical term for earwax is cerumen (in Latin cera means wax).

The special glands in the skin of an outer ear canal are producing this sticky and shiny substance called earwax.  We can recognize it by its orange, red, yellow and greyish color. Its job is to lubricate the skin of an ear canal and to stick the bacterias, insects, and fungi on itself.  

If we are cleaning the ear too much there isn’t anything to protect the ear canal from the otitis media or more known as an ear infection.

But…

Your Ear is Plugged With Excessive Earwax?

Nobody likes the feeling of having something in the ear. For example when we come from the shower and the water is still inside and it is not possible to drain it out. Similar feeling is to have too much of an earwax in the ears.

Too much of an earwax can lead to symptoms:

-Blockage feeling

-Hearing loss

-Ringing in the ears

-Pain

There isn’t big science behind cleaning your ear canal, but definitely you should visit a doctor for it. He will take a couple of minutes to clean the built-up earwax and advice you with products for ear hygiene. You can also clean the ear wax on your own if you have your own cleaning tools at home like the Wax RX bottle system, elephant ear washer set (review here), or a typical ear irrigator tool. If this does not help you to clean the insight of your ear than you could also try to use one of the ear endoscopes from our shop.

The cleaning isn’t painful and you shouldn’t be afraid of it.

Nowadays if there isn’t  a giant blockage in the ear but still there is excessive earwax they prescribe special medicines – ear drops, sprays. Those are placed in the ear to remove extra wax.

Tips for cleaning earwax on your own

If you want to get rid of an earwax do this: NOTHING!

With washing your hair regularly you will be cleaning your ear canal spontaneously. Water can do magic!

After cleaning your ears with water you can dry the outside of an ear with a towel but please do not use a cotton swab or your fingers.

Your ears are very delicate part of your body so be gentle with them.

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Ear Irrigation Explained Step by Step

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The Perfect Procedure for Clearing the Ear: Ear Irrigation

For adult and pediatric patients

There are many procedures for clearing, cleaning the ear. We’ll let you know the routine procedure that ENT use in the Emergency Department (ED) for ear irrigation.

With this procedure cerumen- ear wax and foreign objects are removed from the ear canal. To get more information about tools used for ear irrigation read this article here.

It is very beneficial and improves hearing and life quality of the patient.

Ear irrigation with syringe and angiocatheter setup

ear-irrigation-exlained

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is ”ear-rigation” on the budget. Useful for clearing out the small objects which can not be pulled out of the ear with a hook.

Equipment for low cost but specialized ear irrigation:

  • 14, 16 or 18 gauge cannula (needle removed and tip trimmed)
  • 20 or 60 mL ear syringe
  • Saline in the body temperature
  • Towels
  • Basin

How it’s done? (Step by step of ear irrigation procedure)

  1. Before the start, the patient must know about the possibility of him/her feeling a little bit uncomfortable during the irrigation. The feeling of pressure and cold wetness are common.
  2. The patient should be seated with a straight spine and slightly tilt head to the affected side of an ear. Head is stabilized with doctors non-dominant hand.
  3. The ear is pulled up and outwards to straighten the ear canal.
  4. A doctor prepares a basin of saline which is physiological temperature.
  5. 20 or 60 mL syringe connected to the cannula is used. The tip of the catheter is placed next to the ear to avoid the fluid coming from the ear- dipping down on the patient.
  6. Carefully the injection of the solution starts. It is very important to be careful, because of being too fast the Tympanic membrane can be ruptured.
  7. ”The liquid” stream is directed directly to the cerumen or foreign material direction. In the end, irrigation is done in all directions.
  8. Irrigation has to happen continually until removal of the cerumen or any foreign object.

Very important!

  • The procedure has to stop if the patient suddenly feels sharp pain.
  • It is possible that the Tympanic membrane is ruptured during the procedure.
  • Next to perforation of the eardrum other ”complications” can occur such as pain, deafness, vertigo, and tinnitus.

Tips

  • Use kidney-shaped Genesis basin
  • Very important is the use of correct water temperature. It should be body temperature! Cold water can cause the patient to feel sick (nausea, vertigo, vomit).
  • Possible to use low-cost water gun.

Special tips from DIYhappy

  • Irrigation cannot be done for button batteries or vegetable  matter. The vegetable can expand and become very difficult for removal and button battery during ear irrigation can cause alkaline necrosis.
  • If not on a budget then consider as a doctor to have electric ear syringe which is becoming very popular among (ED) population.
  • You should know that irrigation is very safe for those who had never problems with the eardrum, Tympanic membrane. If the patient in the past had the perforation than the pressure should definitely not be exceeded.

Fun history fact

Ear Syringing is used already for circa 2,000 years. Almost the same technique is still used today by ear, nose and throat doctors. Looks like flushing out the ear with warm water is a good technique that works.

Can we irrigate our own ears with syringe procedure?

  • Yes, we can! If we are 100% sure that the eardrum is O.K.!
  • We also must be gentle while rinsing out ears with warm water.
  • The self-care procedure is more effective if we use a wax softener 15 minutes before we irrigate our own ears.

Medication

If the irrigation treatment with a Wax RX bulb syringe or an Elephant ear irrigator bottle (filled with warm water)- as described above does not help then the doctor may recommend medications for the wax removal. Ear drops can soften the wax which can be than removed with an ear endoscope, ear swab tool or other cleaning tools

Carbamide peroxide medications:

  • Earwax Removal Kit
  • Murine Ear Wax removal System

​Those ear drops are used only if the excessive ear wax cannot be treated the other way, because the ear drops can irritate the delicate skin of an eardrum and ear canal.

You can read our recent reviews here

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Sneaky Swimmer’s Ear – Ear Pain That Doesn’t go Away

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Listen up! This goes for all the water enthusiasts who are exposed to a cold environment like wind and water which are breaking points for our ears.

If you are exposed to that kind of conditions bare in mind that the ears are one of the things that are going to go.

What is Swimmer’s ear?

swimmers-ear-vs-infection

A sneaky condition that revolves over time. Among surfers is known as Surfer’s ear but commonly the world out there knows it as Swimmer’s ear (Otitis externa).

When the ears are on the breaking point and it is the last call for them, ENT professionals call it Exostosis. 

Exostosis is a bony growth in the external ear canal- far canal.

Why is it sneaky?

Because it happens over time. You don’t feel it until it’s time to change your ears. Almost literally to change them, because of the operation which includes lots of drilling and stitching.

Bone in the ear is growing-closing the hole. This is a natural way for the body to protect itself from the cold water. Slowly is growing together and water can enter, but can’t come out anymore. This is not painful, but when the water collects nasty bugs, bacterias and fungi the horrendous and very painful infection occurs. – Actually, it is an infection of an ear canal.

How to Treat Swimmer’s ear?

This infection will sadly not go away on its own. And as mentioned before the surgery will have to be scheduled. But if you do recognize it early (that is why the doctors’ visits are important) you can treat it with ear drops.

Treatment with Ear drops?

The treatment is with ear drops which include antibiotics. Antibiotics can be mixed with steroids which reduce swelling of an ear canal.

Drops are used for a week, several times per day.

In some cases, the doctor will first have to get rid of an earwax buildup. Usually, the ear irrigation with syringe is done. Afterward, the ear drops will work like a charm. You can also use different tools like the Wax RX (click here for more info and review), Elephant Ear Washer (click here for more info and a detailed review), Endoscope Ear Pick (click here for more info and a detailed review), Smart Swab ( click here for more info and a detailed review) or just check out our list of the most recommendable tools to use for ear cleaning.

Ain’t nothing better after a week of using ear drops?

If not, then you will get oral medicine.

Still not going away, what is happening?

This usually happens when a patient had already ear infection before. The drops will not help because bacteria in the ear got stronger and got used to the medicine. Also, don’t forget that there are more bacterias out there. That is why is so many ear drops on the market. Different bacteria- different ear drop.

While at home treat your ear pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Plus keep the water out of an ear during treatment.

Operation of Exostosis

The common technique is done in the surgical room with hopefully the surgeon that knows what he/she is doing is an incision behind the ear followed by drilling.

After the operation, you should not get in the contact with water for eight weeks, because of your “15 stitches” (depends on the size of your ears).

If you are unlucky- in usual cases the Surfer’s ear happens on both of the ears, but operation not. – The reason for this is that you still will hear something for those 8 weeks of rehabilitation.

One of the new techniques of operating Swimmer’s ear is done without incision, only with dentistry tools. The results of this operation are fantastic. We are looking forward to hearing more from it because the rehabilitation time is only a week. Go medicine!

Anyway, prevention is far better than rehabilitation!

Prevention of Swimmer’s ear

No matter what they told you, the best prevention is custom earplugs. You can get them at specialists in cool colors without ropes. They are specially designed for your ear canal and can not fall out.  The water cannot enter because the earplugs close the ear canal completely. The only downside is that they are worth around 80 Euros. But for sure ears are worth much more than this.

After a water session, you should dry out the ears completely. Gently dry them with a clean towel or use the hairdryer on minimum wind force. You can also buy in the pharmacy ear spray which contains alcohol- it will dry your ears.

If you do all of this you have nothing to worry about.

Who can get Swimmer’s ear?

Everyone exposed to a cold environment (wind and water). It is not true that only kids get it.

Also, the people who moisture their ear too much or irritate their ear canal with cotton swabs.

Actually many things can cause a middle ear infection. That is why keep your fingers cleaned or just don’t stick them in the ears.

Symptoms of the Swimmer’s ear?

Ear pain which is getting worse and worse and no drops can help it.

One of the biggest symptoms are itching and hard time chewing, because of the swollen ear canal. It feels like the ear is full.

On the outside ear looks red or even swollen. If it is truly bad the nasty discharge comes dripping out of an ear. First dropped in clear color, then turns cloudy and at the end in ugly yellowish pus color.

If the person is saying HUH?- a lot then you should consider taking a trip to your doctor.