Ear wax or earwax, many people get annoyed by it.
But the truth is that earwax is such a natural leak coming out of our body, which has an important function.
So keeping it clean is not something you should take lightly.
British ENT surgeon Gabriel Weston explores the best and worst ways to keep your ears clean.
Before jumping to any conclusion, Dr. Gabriel Weston clarifies that earwax is a substance that is produced in the glands present inside the ear and has many functions.
Ear wax work
- It helps to keep our ears clean and healthy.
- It prevents drying or cracking of the layer above the ear canal.
- It protects the ear from dust particles and water, which helps in preventing infection.
- Most of the time, our ear canals do their own cleaning.
When does ‘scum in the ear’ become a problem?
When we speak, chew something, move our jaws, this earwax and skin cells gradually move from the eardrum to the ear hole. Where it usually dries out and comes out.
Earwax or earwax is usually not a problem. But if it starts to build up in excess, it can become such a blocker that can cause ear pain or in some cases hearing loss can occur.
There are many such things sold in the market that promise that earwax can be cleaned by using them.
But the question arises that do these products really help?
When we try to clean our ears with our fingers, problems often arise. It is even more risky to clean it with cotton swabs. Although many people use it for this purpose, but the companies that make cotton swabs warn not to use it to clean the ear canals.
The next time your heart breaks about using it, then once you read the message written on the label of its packing. However, at first glance, it seems to be such a thing that no harm is assumed. It is possible that on that cotton pack you will find it written that “Cotton swabs should not be inserted into the ear canals.”
When we use it, what actually happens is that we push earwax further into the ear. It can stick to the parts of the ear that are not capable of cleaning themselves. Earwax can contain bacteria from the outside of the ear that can cause infection.
A consequence of cleaning the earwax with cotton swabs can also be that by doing so, a kind of irritation can arise in the inner skin of the ear, which makes it feel like touching that part again and again. This can turn into a vicious cycle.
In some cases, if these cotton swabs reach too deep, it can lead to rupture of the eardrum, sudden increase in pain, bleeding and temporary loss of hearing.
- For those who want to get rid of ear wax, a product like ear candle is also available in the market.
- In this technique a long, thin and burning candle is placed in a cone shaped object.
- The cone has a hole on one side and its direction is inside the ear.
- It is claimed that its use clears earwax and other impurities.
- But research has shown that ear candles are not effective in cleaning the earwax and they can be dangerous.
- It can burn ears and face. This can cause candle wax to reach the ear canals and damage the eardrum.
Many people use ear drops as a first option for cleaning their ears. These ear drops moisten the earwax so much that it starts coming out on its own.
There are many types of ear drops available in the market. The ingredients that it is prepared by mixing include things like hydrogen peroxide, sodium bicarbonate or sodium chloride.
While these ear drops can be effective, irritation has been observed in some cases in people with sensitive skin. Instead, drops of olive and almond oil are considered as effective as other expensive commercial products.
If you want to use olive or almond oil to loosen earwax, we would request you to warm the oil of your choice lightly and lie down on your side.
The temperature of the oil should not be higher than your body temperature. After this, with the help of a dropper, a few drops of oil should be put in the ear and lie on the same side for 5-10 minutes. Olive oil will not irritate your ear but it takes a long time to take effect.
If you feel that your ear is blocked then the process of using oil drops should be repeated two-three times every day for three to five days.
Cleaning with water
If you have a persistent problem of earwax, then it is possible that your doctor will suggest you to clean your ear with water.
In medical science, this method is also called syringing. In this technique, sprays of water are put on the ear canals through a syringe to clear the earwax.
Although earwax can be cleaned in this way, but in some cases it can prove to be troublesome and even the eardrum can be damaged.
Some medical clinics also opt for microsuction for patients suffering from earwax.
In this procedure, the specialist doctor uses a microscope to see the inner condition of the ear and it is pulled through a small instrument.
This method is considered quite safe and is also effective in cases of regular discharge from the ear.