Tuesday, April 5, 2022
100% of physicians recommend not using cotton swabs to clean ears; 100% of people use cotton swabs to clean their ears
Ears are self-cleaning. Say what? It’s true. Our ear canals are self-cleaning. As the skin of the ear canal sheds, the wax is carried to the outer part of the ear canal and drains from the ear. By itself.
Normally, earwax is a self-draining liquid that does not cause problems. Earwax helps filter dust, keeps the ears clean and protects the ear canal from infection. Skin, sweat, hair and debris, such as dirt and shampoo, are held together with a fluid secreted by glands (ceruminous glands) inside the ear canal and form earwax (cerumen).
Everyone makes earwax, but the amount and type are genetically determined just like hair color or height. Smaller or oddly shaped ear canals may make it difficult for the wax to get out of the canal. This can lead to wax impactions.
The outer half of the ear canal produces the earwax, so unless it’s pushed in, it will not become deeply impacted. Attempts to clean the ear with cotton swabs, a finger or, well, anything smaller than your elbow, pushes ear wax deeper. The ear canal can become blocked (impacted) by pressing the wax against the eardrum.
Impacted earwax can cause some hearing loss or other problems, like ringing in the ears (tinnitus) a full feeling in the ears, or vertigo – a sense of motion or dizziness when you aren’t moving. If you have pain in your ear, call your physician.
If it feels like you have an excess of earwax but you’re not in pain, there are home remedies that don’t involve a cotton swab or an elbow:
Buy an over-the-counter earwax removal kit.
Make your own removal solution. Soften and loosen the earwax with warm mineral oil or a mixture of hydrogen peroxide mixed with an equal amount of room-temperature water, Place two drops of the fluid, warmed to body temperature, in the ear twice a day for up to five days. Be sure to warm the fluid because cold fluid can cause pain and dizziness.
Enter for a chance to win one of four $25 gift cards
Enter for a chance to win one of four $25 e-gift cards. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we post one piece of wellness information on our website and promote it through our Facebook page. To enter, you must be 18 years of age or older and respond to the “Useful” question at the end of the wellness information. Be honest, if it was not useful, tell us, it will not impact your odds of winning. One entry per person per piece of content. Genesis HealthCare System employees are not eligible. On the first Monday of April, May, June and July, we will draw four winners for the previous month and post on our Facebook page and notify them through email. Complete the form below to enter!