Information Regarding Earwax, Including How To Get Rid Of It!
Unfortunately, many people every year make it more difficult for their ears to function optimally due to inappropriate care routines. Although the outer ear, which is the visible portion, is primarily strong cartilage, the middle and inner ear is not so tough. The ear canal and the eardrum are both sensitive and must be treated correctly to keep them in good shape. You can learn and practice good habits in order to keep your ears healthy for the rest of your life. First things first; stop using any type of cotton-tipped applicator, bobby pin or similar objects into your ear canal.
What Is Earwax About Anyway?
Earwax, or cerumen, is an essential part of your body’s natural self-cleaning mechanisms. The slow release of the waxy substance helps to protect the inside portions of the ear with an antibacterial lubricant. Insufficient production can lead to itchiness and a dry ear canal. The human body is designed so that the earwax slowly migrates toward the outer ear, collecting dead skin cells along the way. The amount of time it takes and amount can be dependent on many factors. However, this is a continually motion that is assisted by certain motions, including chewing and strong jaw movements. As it reaches to the opening, it dries up and will eventually flake and fall out of the ear.
Although it might seem like this process would begin deep within the ear, that is not the case. Rather than being close to the incredibly sensitive ear drum, the wax is produced in the outer portion of the ear canal only. About one-third of the canal makes the beneficial substance. Because the human body only makes wax toward the opening, and the wax naturally migrates toward the outside of the ear, a blockage near the eardrum is an indication of an improper cleaning routine related to ear care. While the little swabs with the cotton tip are the most well-known of these offenders, bobby pins can be equally damaging. In fact, an easy rule of thumb is to never put anything inside of your ear canal. Doing so can cause the wax to go deeper into the ear.
How Often Should Ears Be Cleaned?
In a perfect world you could depend on the natural mechanics of your body to keep your ears clean. However, for a variety of reasons, this doesn’t always happen. Cerumen Impaction is a serious condition that occurs when the ears have not been able to expel the wax and it has been allowed to accumulate deep within the ear. As the wax buildup grows, hearing loss begins to occur and the person might hear different types of noises, like ringing in the ears. Other symptoms include a perpetual cough, itchiness and odorous discharges.
How Should The Ears Be Cleaned?
A washcloth and regular soap can be used on the outer ear, as long as nothing is pushed into the ear canal. Not only can the washcloth push the wax further down the ear canal, microscopic debris can travel along with it.
In many instances home treatments can be used to safely and effectively soften the wax. Two to four drops of a natural oil or special drops can be used as a first step toward getting the wax free. Many folks have also found that hydrogen peroxide is a good choice for helping to loosen the hardened and compacted wax. Alternatively, carbamide peroxide can be used.
Special irrigation kits are available to clean this area of the ear safely and effectively. This is sometimes called ear syringing. Some patients require medical assistance with this, while others are able to use home treatments and experience relief. In order for the extractor to work well it is important that the wax has been softened first. Warm saline water is one option, as are special dissolving drops. These should be left in the ear canal at least fifteen minutes before beginning the treatment. Most people find that half an hour can help with even serious blockage. We still recomend to use a profesionall ear wax removal tool to clean out your earwax. You can find a list of the best ear wax removal tools here.
There are some folks who should avoid irrigation solutions to prevent other medical problems. The list of medical restrictions include: diabetes, perforation of the eardrum, poorly functioning immune system for any reason and tubes in the ear.
An otolaryngologist can use specialized instruments in order to manually remove the buildup. The tools that can be used include several tiny instruments, including little suction cups and microscope to watch the work closely. This is good for people who have experienced little relief with other methods. Those with skin problems, like eczema, and diabetics should use this form of removal rather than attempt home treatments. Likewise, those who have perforations or tubes must go this route for safety.
Why Are Cotton Swabs Bad For Removing Earwax?
Accumulated ear wax is one of the biggest factors in hearing loss. Unfortunately, this is frequently caused by these cute little swabs. In most cases the swab only gathers a small part of the ear wax, shoving the rest of it further into the ear canal. Eventually this creates a blockage.
Your outer ear functions like a funnel leading to the hourglass shaped canal. The upper portion of this canal produces the wax, so it should never be deeper than that in a healthy ear. Cotton swabs disrupt the natural removal processes.
Can I Use Ear Candles For Removing Wax Buildup?
Although these candles are supposed to help remove the wax, they pose multiple concerns, including the possibility of burns. These long, hollow candles can also cause an obstruction or damage the membrane protecting the middle ear.
The FDA has reviewed multiple cases regarding the use of these candles, and have deemed them ineffective and unsafe. For more than two decades they have actively sought to keep these away from unsuspecting consumers.