- Serie “Trust me, I’m a doctor”
Many do not like it, they find it repulsive. But the truth is that ear wax is a natural secretion with a very important function, and cleaning them is not something that should be taken lightly.
British otolaryngologist Gabriel Weston investigated the best and worst ways to clean the ears.
But before giving us his verdict, he clarifies that cerumen is a substance produced by the glands inside the ear and that it has several functions:
- Helps keep our ears healthy and clean.
- It prevents the lines lining the ear canals from drying out and cracking.
- Protects the ear from dirt and repels water, which helps stop infections.
- Most of the time, our ear canals clean themselves.
As we speak, chew, and move our jaws, the wax and skin cells slowly move from the eardrum to the ear hole, where they usually dry out and fall off.
Generally, andl cerumen no it’s a troubleBut if it is produced in excess it can cause a blockage that can cause pain or hearing loss.
There are a plethora of products on sale that promise to remove or clean ear wax, but which one really helps?
Problems often arise when we try to clean our ears with our finger or, even worse, with a cotton swab.
Although many people use them for this purpose, the companies that manufacture them recommend not using them in the ear canal.
The next time you are tempted to use one of their utensils, which at first glance seem innocuous, take a look at the label on the package.
You will probably find a warning that says that cotton buds “they should not be inserted into the ear canal”.
When we use them, what we really end up doing is pushing the earwax deep into the ear, causing it to get stuck in the parts that can’t clean themselves.
Earwax can also contain bacteria from the outside of the ear, which can cause an infection.
Removing earwax with a cotton swab can also irritate the skin of the ear, making people tend to touch that part even more. That can turn into a vicious cycle.
In some cases, if the swab is inserted too deep, there is a risk of perforating the eardrum, causing sudden pain, bleeding, and temporary hearing loss.
Ear candles are marketed as a simple solution for those who want to get rid of earwax.
The technique involves placing a long, thin, lit candle inside a cone with a hole and positioning it inside the ear.
It is supposed to remove earwax and other impurities.
Research has shown that ear candles are not effective to remove earwax and pose a hazard.
It can cause burns to the ear and face, it can leave wax in the ear canal and damage the eardrum.
Many people use ear drops as the number one option to remove earwax. These can soften or loosen it and allow it to run its natural course.
There are many drops on the market. Among the active ingredients they contain are hydrogen peroxide, sodium bicarbonate or sodium chloride.
Although the drops can be effective, they can also cause irritation in people with sensitive skin.
Instead, drops of olive and almond oils appear to be as effective as other expensive products commercial.
If you want to try olive or almond oils to soften the wax in your ears, we recommend that you warm the oil of your choice a little (until it reaches your body temperature) and lie on your side.
Use an eyedropper to apply a few drops of the oil to your ear and stay in that position for 5-10 minutes.
Olive oil is unlikely to irritate your ear, but it takes a long time to work on earwax.
If you feel that your ear is blocked, it may be necessary to repeat the procedure two or three times a day for three to five days to soften the accumulated wax.
Irrigate the ear
If you have a persistent problem with earwax, your doctor may recommend flushing your ear, a procedure also known as syringe flushing.
This technique consists of using a tool that squirting water into the ear canal to remove wax.
However, although this method could remove it, it can in some cases be painful and even damage the eardrum.
Some clinics may do a microsuction to remove earwax.
In this procedure, the specialist will use a microscope to see inside the ear and a tiny device will aspirate the earwax.
This technique can be very safe and effective in removing persistent crashes.
Remembera what you can receive notifications from BBC Mundo. Downloada our app and activate them so you don’t miss our best content.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.