What Should You Know About Proper Ear Care
The ears are the most visible part of the human hearing system. Taking care of your ears is important in many ways. Cleaning is one step, while preventing and treating infections is another. Ear care also include taking steps to avoid unnecessary noise and watching for possible hearing loss. You should call your healthcare provider if youre worried about any of these issues.
Why Its Bad To Use Q
Q-Tips are widely used all around the world by many people for one thing to get rid of the wax inside their ears.
While you have your ears free from wax, this particular cleansing routine can be dangerous to your ears and their function. This routine is also counter-productive. While you may see some amount of residue on the cotton swab, inserting Q-tips actually cause the wax to go further into the ear canal instead of getting all of it removed. Swabbing in your ears can actually affect your sense of hearing, the moment that the ear wax gets into the eardrums instead of going out the ears.
Ear wax is not necessarily bad for your ears. As a matter of fact, it is a protective fluid that keeps your ears safe and secured from insects. It is naturally created by the human body for one very important reason and removing it using cotton swabs stop the wax from doing its job. In case that you really feel you need to clean your ears then it will be better to leave the job to Advanced ENT & Allergy physicians.
Dangers Of Cleaning Ears With Cotton Swabs
Cerumen impaction is an excess buildup of ear wax inside the ear canal. Our ears work to rid themselves of excess ear waxy pushing the unneeded wax our of our ear canal. When we stick cotton swabs into our ears in an attempt to pull the earwax out, what we can often end up doing instead is pushing the wax back down into their canal, causing a blockage. This can cause feelings of fullness in the ears, pain, ringing in the ears and even hearing loss.
Irritation to Ear Canal
Cleaning your ears with cotton swabs attempting to clear your ear wax with other foreign objects has the potential to cause damage to your ear canal or the other structures of your middle or inner ear. The inner structures of our ears are very delicate. They could potentially become physically damaged or irritated with the repeated poking and prodding that comes along with cleaning our ears with cotton swabs.
Perhaps most dangerous of all is the risk of serious infection when using cotton swabs to clean our ears. Take the case of an otherwise healthy 31-year-old man. After collapsing, he was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. While in the care of the emergency room, the patient experienced seizures, confusion, dizziness, and a state of altered consciousness. After much speculation and a CT scan the root cause of the issue was discovered. The CT scan unveiled a puss-filled abscess in the tissue surrounding the mans brain.
How to Safely Clean Our Ears
When To See A Doctor
Generally speaking, you shouldnt typically need to see a healthcare provider to have your ears cleaned. However, sometimes earwax can build up or become too hard to be naturally cleared, even if you dont use cotton swabs in your ear.
Make an appointment with your doctor to have them check your ears if you experience any of the following symptoms, whether or not youve used a cotton swab:
What You Can Do Instead
Dr. Erich Voigt, an otologist at New York University, told Business Insider that he recommends washing your ears with soap and water, and then take your finger in a towel and mop out all the excess water, and along with it any wax that might be on the outside of your ear.
That way, you can avoid some of the harrowing situations Voigt has experienced, including removing a “small brown crayon amount of wax from someone’s ear.”
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How Should You Clean Your Ears
For the vast majority of people, cleaning the inside of your ears is not necessary at all. Again, ear wax is healthy. Plus, it naturally migrates out on its own.
But if you have brown ear wax thats visible and you dont like how it looks, it is possible to successfully clean your ears with Q tips. Just be careful, and only clean your outer ear around the canal. There are also drops that help remove ear wax that you can buy over the counter.
If you use Q tips to dry out your ears after a shower or swimming, try a blow dryer instead. And if you ever think your ears are plugged because of an infection, there are over-the-counter decongestants you can use that should help. Dont use Q tips in this situation because it will only make the issue worse.
Q tips arent always going to lead to problems, and I do see a lot of people who use them whose ears are just fine. But when I see someone with a big wax impaction, its almost always because of Q tips. Thats why I urge you to give these alternatives that Ive mentioned a try. And if they dont work to unplug your ears, I recommend visiting your primary care doctor, an audiologist, or an ear, nose and throat doctor.
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
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Why Youre In Danger Of Building The Wrong Workforce
To succeed in the future, health care organizations will need to provide care in the lowest-cost, most appropriate settingand to accomplish this, theyll need a different complement of staff than in the past.
But if today’s leaders don’t revise their workforce planning strategy, they’re in danger of building the wrong workforce, a mistake that will be costly in the long run and could take 10-12 years to correct.
Find out what you need to do to revise your approachstarting from the “outside-in.”
Stop Cleaning Your Kids Ears With Cotton Swabs
When parents see wax in their childrens ears, their instinct is to remove it, usually with cotton-tip swabs . What parents dont realize, however, is how much harm cotton-tip applicators can do.
In fact, The Journal of Pediatrics recently released a study concluding that cotton-tip swabs send dozens of kids across the country to the emergency room every day.
While we do see a number of traumatic ear injuries in the emergency room at Childrens Wisconsin, we also see patients visit our primary clinics for injuries or abrasions to the ear canal.
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What Kinds Of Safety Issues Involve Your Ears
Safety and your ears is not just a work issue. You should take care of your ears when youre doing activities you like, too. Here are some tips for other activities:
- Always wear a helmet when you bike, ski, roller blade or participate in any other activity that puts you at risk for head and ear injuries.
- If you scuba dive, learn and practice proper underwater techniques to avoid potentially damaging changes in pressure inside your ears.
- When flying in an airplane, swallow and yawn frequently when the plane is coming down to equalize pressure in your ears. If you have an upper respiratory problem such as a cold or sinus infection, take a decongestant a few hours before landing, and/or use a decongestant spray just prior to descending and on landing.
- You can buy earplugs with special filters to help equalize air pressure in ears during air travel.
General ear care tips
- Have your ears checked regularly by your primary care doctor. Have your hearing checked by an audiologist if you or anyone else questions whether your hearing is normal. Consult a specialist as needed.
- When outdoors in sunny weather, remember to use a sunscreen on your ears.
- If you notice unusual bumps or scaly areas on the exterior ear, call your healthcare provider.
- See an ear doctor immediately if you injure your ears, experience ear pain, or notice any changes in your ears or hearing. Sometimes ear pain can originate in the teeth or jaws or the neck.
What are the signs of hearing loss?
You Can Injure Yourself
The skin lining the ear canal is very thin and can easily be injured just by something touching it or rubbing it the wrong way. A Q-Tip can cut the ear canal or cause a sore.
Not to mention, if you are sticking a Q-Tip too deep in the ear, you can rupture or damage the ear drum. This is very painful and can effect your hearing. Even if you are very careful when putting the Q-Tip in your ear, there have been numerous cases where an arm is accidentally bumped when the ear is being cleaned causing significant injury to the ear.
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Why Your Doctor Does Not Want You To Use Q
It may have started as a daily habit or just something you thought you were supposed to do from time to time, but your doctor would rather you not clean your ears with cotton-tipped swabs and heres why. Every year, more than 12 million people visit their health care provider with complaints of impacted or excessive cerumen also known as a pretty serious earwax problem.
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.
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So How Should I Clean My Ears
The only part of the ear that really should be cleaned is the part that can be seen when looking in a mirror, commonly known as the outer ear. This can be done with a little soap, water, and a handy washcloth. In most individuals, the ear canal does not need to be cleaned.
In fact, during most showers, enough water enters the ear canal to dislodge the accumulated wax so there is no extra work on your part. In addition, the skin in our ears grows outward in a spiral pattern and it will eventually get to a point where the ear wax just falls off while you sleep.
How To Clean A Babys Ears
- Parents should not try to clean wax out of their babies ear canals.
- Use a warm washcloth to wash the outside of the ear as part of their regular bath routine.
- If you attempt to clean the canal with something like a cotton swab, you can force wax deeper into the canal and injure it or the eardrum.
While its fine to wash the outside of the ear during bath time, parents should not try to clean wax out of their babies ear canals.
Sticking Q-tips, fingers, or anything else into the ear can cause problems, says Anita Ahuja, MD, who practices internal medicine and pediatrics at UnityPoint Health in Iowa.
Theres this old saying, and this goes for adults too, that you shouldnt stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear, she says.
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Hearing Problems And Symptoms
Dr. Chow will advise patients to visit an ear nose and throat specialist if he is unable to remove excess earwax or if there are other concerns including:
- A feeling the ear is plugged
- Partial and progressive hearing loss
- Constant ringing in the ear
- Odor or discharge from the ear
If you do not have any of these symptoms, it is best to keep your earwax alone and let it do its job to keep you healthy. Thats right. Earwax is designed to trap dust and particles, which have entered the ear canal to keep this matter away from the eardrum. Without earwax, we would not have a barrier of protection for the eardrum and could risk damage to our hearing.
Is It Safe To Use Q
There are many useful functions for cotton swabs applying make-up, cleaning jewelry, spreading glue cleaning ear canals is not one of them. For years, boxes of cotton swabs have carried a warning: “Do not insert inside the ear canal.” And yet, people continue to try to clean their ears with Q-Tips.
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How To Clean Your Ears
The outer ear, also known as the pinna, benefits from a good cleaning every now and then. This can be accomplished with a little soap, water and a washcloth while you shower. Be gentle.
In most cases, the ear canal does not need to be cleaned. During hair washing or showers, enough water enters the ear canal to loosen the wax that has accumulated. Additionally, the skin in your ear canal naturally grows in an outward, spiral pattern. As it sloughs off, ear wax goes with it. Most of the time the wax will loosen and fall out on its own while you are asleep. The need for a cotton swab isnt necessary.
How To Remove Excess Earwax At Home
If your eardrum doesn’t contain a tube or have a hole in it, these home remedies are a much better option than cotton swabs:
You may need to repeat this wax-softening and irrigation procedure several times before the excess earwax falls out. However, the softening agents may only loosen the outer layer of the wax and cause it to lodge deeper in the ear canal or against the eardrum.
If your symptoms don’t improve after a few treatments, see your doctor.
Earwax removal kits available in stores also can be effective at removing wax buildup. If you’re unsure which one is right for you, ask your audiologist or ear, nose, and throat specialist for advice on how to properly use other earwax-removal methods.
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Should You Clean Your Ears
Ideally, no your ear canals shouldnât need cleaning. But if too much earwax builds up and starts to cause symptoms or it keeps your doctor from doing a proper ear exam, you might have something called cerumen impaction. This means earwax has completely filled your ear canal and it can happen in one or both ears.
The symptoms of cerumen impaction are:
- Pain or a feeling of fullness in your ear
- Feeling like your ear is plugged
- Partial loss of hearing, which worsens over time
- Ringing in your ear, known as tinnitus
- Itching, discharge, or a smell coming from your ear