Thursday, February 02, 2017

Are Ear Buds Really Meant For Your Ears? Read and SAVE YOUR EARS

Understand that ear wax is a sticky stuff that traps anything foreign that flies, crawls, or is blown into the ear canals. Dirt, tiny bits of plant material, small insects, bacteria, and so forth are immobilized by wax. The primary purpose of ear wax is to protect your ear canal and ear drum from such foreign materials. 

Having said this how do you clean your ears? For one do not put anything inside the ears, ear wax migrates out of the canal all by itself and does not need your help.
Secondly use either a baby oil to the ears of kids once every fortnight and for adults use either baby oil, clove oil or commercially available wax solvents and your ears should be clean.
Warning: People who have a history of middle ear infections or a hole in the ear drum should NOT try these remedies, nor should they allow a physician to irrigate their ears. Do not self-medicate with persistent symptoms; the problem may be unrelated to wax and may be more serious.

Many patients who present with wax problems are regular users of ear-buds. Ear-buds, safety-pins and hair-pins, when used carelessly can push wax into the deeper parts of the ear-canal where wax is not formed. In such a situation, there would be further impaction of the wax. Hearing loss occurs when wax completely blocks the ear canal. Even a small amount of wax, if wedged between the ear drum and the ear canal wall, reduces the ability of the ear drum to conduct sound. Also, the skin of the ear canal and the eardrum is very thin and fragile and is easily injured. Ear wax can cause pain, infection, deafness and cough.

If removal is needed the best way is removal under direct vision by a specialist.

Irrigation or "syringing" is a standard method of wax removal. While this is a conventional and accepted method of ear wax removal, it has many disadvantages compared to removal under direct vision.

I recommend against using ear buds as well as putting other things into your ear such as hair pins. This can be dangerous because you run the risk of perforating the ear drum, as well as jamming wax deeper inside. It does not matter whether you are using the local or the International brand, the result is the same. In fact using the local ones being sold on the road side will make you dearer by few more rupees because the bud is made from discarded patient used cotton from the Govt. hospitals.

Unfortunately, I still get lots of patients who continue using ear buds, I had a 3 year child whose parents had used ear buds and had made a hole in the ear drum!!!. I also had a patient who had ear bud track in his ear and brain fluid was coming out. Another disadvantage is prolonged ear bud use can narrow your ear canal. A photo of one patient whom I saw yesterday is included here.

No comments: