First of all: ear wax (lat. Cerumen) there is no contamination in the ear canal and accordingly it cannot be concluded that there is a lack of personal hygiene! Instead, the yellowish secretion of the ear canal glands is an important protection for the ear canal and the eardrum. The ear wax, for example, greases the skin in the ear canal so that it remains supple and acts as a protective acid mantle to keep germs from entering the ear. In addition, dust, sweat, and dead skin cells collect in the ear wax. Small cilia transport these impurities together with the ear wax to the auricle and thus keep the ear clean. The bitter taste of the ear wax ensures that neither bacteria can settle on the eardrum nor insects crawl into the ear unnoticed. In this article, we read about How to clean ears?
Normally, everyone has exactly as much ear wax in their ears as is necessary for the functions described.
With increasing age, the ear wax becomes more and more solid because the ear canal glands produce less fat. Under certain circumstances, this can lead to hearing loss.
Lukewarm water and washcloths – that’s all you need
If the earwax collects on the auricle, it can be cleaned easily and safely with lukewarm water and a washcloth. Another possibility is to let some warm water flow into your ear under the shower and then dab off the liquefied secretion with a cotton pad or a handkerchief. However, the ear canal itself should not be cleaned any further.
Just no cotton swabs to clean ears
Cleaning the ears with a cotton swab is a common practice. Many people insert the cotton swab into the ear as far as it will go and try to get the wax out. However, we strongly advise against this! There is too great a risk of injuring yourself in the ear canal or eardrum during cleaning. In addition, it can happen that the ear wax with all the dirt is pushed further into the ear and in front of the eardrum. This can lead to impaired hearing and inflammation.
Are cleaning sprays a good alternative?
Cleaning sprays are usually salt water solutions. Using these sprays will loosen the wax and make it easier to remove from the auricle. When used, little can be injured in the ear canal or the eardrum. However, such cleaning sprays are expensive to clean ears. The cheaper option is to rinse the ears with lukewarm water.
Can I use ear vacuums, ear spoons, or ear corkscrews?
ENT doctors strongly advise against using ear vacuum cleaners, spoons, corkscrews, and the like, as their use can injure the eardrum. The reason for this is that the instruments are much longer than the ear canal and the user cannot see into the ear to be able to estimate the distance to the eardrum.
What do ear candles actually do?
Ear candles are funnel-shaped candles made from beeswax or paraffin. By lighting the candles in the ear, a so-called chimney effect should occur, in which the ear wax is drawn out of the ear by slight negative pressure. So far, however, there is no clear scientific evidence for this.
Even if the ear candles are used correctly, there is a risk of injury in the form of burns to the face, the auricle, the ear canal, and the middle ear. It is also possible that the candle wax could clog the ears or injure the eardrum. Therefore, the candles should always be used in the presence of another person.
In the event of overproduction, the ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT doctor) has to deal with it
It happens that too much earwax is produced in some people. In this case, a so-called plug forms in the ear canal, which severely impairs hearing and can be perceived as uncomfortable or painful.
People who have to do this should have their ear canal cleaned by an ENT doctor about every three months. The ear wax is sucked out of the ear canal using a thin metal tube. If a plug has already formed, it is pulled out of the ear canal with a small hook.
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