Stay Away From Ear Candles
Ear candles are marketed as a solution to removing wax from ear canals, but they often do more harm than good. Unsurprisingly, for something that involves lighting a flame near your head, theyve been known to cause burns to the face, outer ear, eardrum and inner ear. . They can also make build-ups of ear wax worse and are not recommended.
Ear Wax Buildup Explained
Ear wax is naturally produced by the body and offers a host of benefits. Normally, wax slowly moves out of the ears. Unfortunately, it is possible for wax to build up inside the ear canal, leading to feelings of fullness and pressure and interfering with hearing. The good news is that there are products available to help you rid your ears of wax.
Preparing For An Appointment
Youre likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. In some rare cases, however, you may be referred to a specialist in ear disorders .
As you prepare for your appointment, its a good idea to write a list of questions. Your doctor may have questions for you as well. He or she may ask:
- How long have you been experiencing symptoms, such as earache or difficulty hearing?
- Have you had any drainage from your ears?
- Have you experienced earache, difficulty hearing or drainage in the past?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
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Scenario : You Occasionally Produce Too Much Earwax
Sometimes our ears produce more earwax than usual. A few things that encourage this are irritated skin , environmental pollutants, and wearing earbuds or headphones a lot. Sometimes it might not be obvious why youre producing more earwax. Here are a few signs you might have a buildup:
- Ringing or popping in your ears: Many things cause Tinnitus, but a common culprit is excess earwax. It might also sound like your ears are constantly re-pressurizing if the plug is interfering with airflow.
- Difficulty hearing: If it seems like youre hearing through a tunnel, you dont necessarily have hearing loss earwax might be the problem.
- Earache or pain without an infection: If you think you have a slight ear infection without other symptoms, it could be earwax buildup, especially if it also affects your hearing.
- A feeling of fullness in your ear: Your ears might not just sound clogged, but feel clogged.
For mild buildup, you can use any number of home remedies such as warm mineral or olive oil, hydrogen peroxide drops, a warm water, vinegar or rubbing alcohol solution, or over-the-counter drops. The key is to use these methods sparingly because they can remove too much earwax and dry out the sensitive skin of the ear canal. Aim for no more than once a day until the excess wax is gone, but preferably only one or two times a week.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies
If your eardrum doesn’t contain a tube or have a hole in it, these self-care measures may help you remove excess earwax that’s blocking your ear canal:
- Soften the wax. Use an eyedropper to apply a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin or hydrogen peroxide in your ear canal.
- Use warm water. After a day or two, when the wax is softened, use a rubber-bulb syringe to gently squirt warm water into your ear canal. Tilt your head and pull your outer ear up and back to straighten your ear canal. When finished irrigating, tip your head to the side to let the water drain out.
- Dry your ear canal. When finished, gently dry your outer ear with a towel or hand-held dryer.
Earwax removal kits available in stores also can be effective at removing wax buildup. Ask your doctor for advice on how to properly select and use alternative earwax removal methods.
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Does Ear Candling Work
According to advocates of ear candling, the hollow cones create a low-level vacuum that softens and draws earwax and impurities out of the ear and into the hollow candles.
After the procedure, a dark, waxy substance is sometimes left in the hollow candle stub. Proponents claim that the waxy substance is earwax and other debris, however, critics of ear candling contend that the substance that remains after ear candling is a byproduct of the candles.
A study published in the journal Laryngoscope tested the theory and found ear candles did not produce a vacuum or negative pressure and that the waxy remains consisted of substances found in candle wax but not in ear wax.
The study also found that ear candling did not result in the removal of earwax from the ear canal and even caused candle wax to be deposited in some ears.
Some proponents of ear candling claim that ear candling can treat sinusitis, sinus pain, tinnitus, vertigo, and otitis media. The external ear canal, however, is separated from the middle ear, sinuses, Eustachian tube, and nasal passages by the eardrum .
Other manufacturers claim that smoke from the burning candles dries out the ear canal and stimulates the body’s natural excretion of wax and dead cells, pollen, mold, parasites, and other debris. There is no evidence supporting these claims.
Other Ways To Remove Earwax
If eardrops arent doing the trick, you may consider using an ear syringe to irrigate your ear. You can find these at your local drugstore or online. Make sure you follow all instructions clearly. If you arent sure how to use the ear syringe, consult your doctor.
Its commonly thought that cotton swabs, or even hairpins or paperclips, can clean the ear. This isnt accurate. Sticking a foreign object in your ear can actually push the earwax further in the ear or damage the ear canal and eardrum. These outcomes may result in serious complications. If you suspect any of these things has happened to you, consult your doctor.
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How To Irrigate After Softening The Wax
After each session of letting the wax softener fizzle in my ear for an hour, I tilted my head the other way, using a tissue to catch the softener fluid and some wax as it drained out.
I discovered that more wax comes out by irrigating with warm water. Thats why its important to get a kit that includes the rubber bulb syringe to flush the ear.
I filled a teacup with warm water and sucked the water into the syringe, as shown below. The water should only be body temperature. Water that is too warm or too cold can cause dizziness or loss of balance.
I also had to improve on the method described in the instructions on the box. They tell you to gently flush the ear with warm water after letting the softener drain out, but they dont explain how to do this the right way.
At first, I made the mistake of using the syringe to fill my ear with warm water and then turn my ear down to let the water drain out. That was wrong! No one tells you this.
The best way to use the syringe is to pump the water into the ear while facing the ear down over the sink. Quickly squeezing the bulb syringe forces the water up.
I discovered that more wax comes out when flushing upward and letting it immediately drain out. Its a little messy, but more wax comes out that way.
I did that several times until I used up all the warm water in the teacup. Then I dried my ear with a towel, but never again will I use a cotton stick.
Ear Wax Occurs Naturally In The Ear And Serves A Variety Of Functions
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Why Your Ears Make Wax
The reason we feel tempted to clean our ears is because of that substance called cerumen, commonly called earwax. Itâs normal for your body to produce it, and it actually helps protect and lubricate your ears. If you didnât have earwax, your ears would probably be itchy and dry.
It even has antibacterial properties, which means your ears are self-cleaning. Earwax is like a filter for your ears, keeping out harmful things like dirt and dust, and trapping them so they donât go deep inside.
When you chew and move your jaw, you help move old earwax out of the ear canal to the ear opening. Thatâs where it usually dries up and falls out. But earwax isnât formed in the deep part of your ear canal itâs made in the outer section.
So, the only reason youâd have an earwax blockage up against your eardrum, is because you tried to clean your ears with a cotton swab — or something like it — and pushed the wax in deeper.
Swabbing or sticking pointy objects inside your ear can cause other serious problems:
- Significant hearing loss
How To Properly Clean Your Inner Ears
You dont actually need to clean your inner ears. Ears are self-cleaning and earwax should work its way out of your ear naturally in time where you can clean it with a damp cloth.
If you do get a build up of ear wax thats causing you problems, visit your GP to have it removed. You can also get drops to loosen ear wax at the pharmacy. Generally, youll apply these drops twice a week to loosen ear wax, before removing it from your outer ear with a cloth but follow the manufacturers instructions.
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How To Clean Your Ears Using Hydrogen Peroxide
You may be a believer in leaving your ears to their own self-cleaning because we have been taught that earwax is not dangerous- and is, in fact, quite beneficial for our ears. However, you may be surprised to learn that excessive build-up of earwax poses severe threats to the ears and must be addressed immediately.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, in the United States alone, 12 million visits to doctors offices are due to earwax problems. Moreover, there are over 8 million earwax procedures performed.
These numbers could drastically fall if individuals learned the correct way to care for their ears at home. And the easiest, cheapest and safest way to remove excessive earwax is through hydrogen peroxide.
If you need an all-knowing ear-care guide, you are in the right place! Hydrogen peroxide will be your sidekick in this mission of ear-care, so make sure to free it from its dusty old cleaning cabinet.
What Is A Swimmers Ear And How To Avoid It
Swimmers ear is essentially an outer ear infection, and the infection itself is named Otitis Externa.
The infection occurs when water gets trapped in the ear canal. The name may have you assuming that only swimmers get it. This is an incorrect myth- however, the swimmers ear is indeed more common for those who swim regularly.
Another shocking fact is that the way your ears are formed may determine if you are to be a victim of the swimmers ear. Although you can not change the way your ears are formed or curved, you can take specific measures to prevent otitis externa.
According to head and neck specialist Richard Freeman, MD, an essential way to prevent a swimmers ear is by keeping your ears dry and clean.
If you are a swimmer, you must also equip yourself with the proper swimming gear, including earplugs and bathing caps.
Although these swimming gears are meant to keep your ears dry by restricting the water from entering, they can also trap the water inside, making the situation worse. Therefore, it must be necessary that your ears are dry before you insert the earplugs.
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Dos For Getting Water Out Of Your Ears
If you have water in your ears, take these steps to get it out safely.
- Dry your outer ear with a soft towel or cloth. Donât stick the cloth into the canal.
- Tip your head to one side to help water drain. Gently pull on your earlobe. This will straighten your ear canal and help the water flow.
- Turn your blow dryer on the lowest setting and blow it toward your ear. Hold it at least a foot away.
- Try over-the-counter drying drops.
- To make drying drops at home, mix 1 part white vinegar to 1 part rubbing alcohol. Pour 1 teaspoon of the solution into each ear tilt your head and let it drain out.
Using Caution With Peroxide
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Performing A Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaning
Like They Say Theres No Better Way Than The Natural Way We Bring You Five Easy Home Remedies:
1. Salt Watereasy to cleansalt2. Olive Oilolive oilmustard oilHome remedies to clean your ears: Olive oil is said to be a common remedy for removing ear wax3. Hydrogen Peroxide4. Vinegar and Rubbing AlcoholVinegarHome remedies to clean your ears: Alcohol acts as a drying agent and the vinegar fights bacteria5. Warm WaterHome remedies to clean your ears: Warm water also helps in getting rid of the excess waxDisclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same
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Home Remedies: Cleaning Out The Earwax
Earwax is a helpful and natural part of your body’s defenses. It cleans, lubricates and protects your ear canal by trapping dirt and slowing the growth of bacteria. Earwax blockages commonly occur when people try to clean their ears on their own by placing cotton swabs or other items in their ears. This often just pushes wax deeper into the ear, which can cause serious damage to the lining of your ear canal or eardrum.
Never attempt to dig out excessive or hardened earwax with available items, such as a paper clip, a cotton swab or a hairpin.
If earwax blockage becomes a problem, you or your doctor can take simple steps to remove the wax safely.