If you’ve ever heard that you shouldn’t stick anything in your ears for any reason, you should heed that advice. While
the temptation to clean every possible accessible orifice may compel
you, you are actually doing more harm than good by sticking a cotton
swab (or anything else) in your ears The ears are truly amazing. Not only do they house the smallest bones in the body, they are completely self-sufficient
wax is not an icky bodily substance, it is the means by which intruders
are kept out, those precious tiny bones and ear drum are protected, and
the ear canal is kept moist and clean.
biological name for ear wax is cerumen. It’s made by sweat glands and
combines with dead skin cells and sebum (an oily substance made by
glands in the skin) in the ear. With antibacterial properties, cerumen
is perfectly suited to protect your ears in every way.
Your Ears Push Old Wax Out Naturally Ever
wonder what happens to ear wax (if you don’t pull it out, that is)?
Once formed, the wax moves every time your jaw moves: eating, talking,
chewing gum, yawning. Old wax is pushed out, like riding an escalator. If
you stick something in your ear, the wax gets pushed back into the
canal and can’t get off the escalator. What can occur if it’s done
consistently is the wax becomes impacted and can’t make its own way out.
If this happens, then you really do have to do something to get the wax
out—and it’s not especially fun. Ears
rarely need to be cleaned. The only time it’s indicated is if you
notice changes to your hearing; a doctor has tools to flush out impacted
cerumen. Trapped/Impacted Cerumen Trapped
cerumen can retain the bacteria, viruses, and fungus that it was
designed to remove. If it remains in the ear because it’s been pushed
back, it can cause infection. Pushed
in far enough and you can rupture the ear drum, causing hearing loss.
Almost eight million Americans a year have professional medical
procedures to remove impacted cerumen. Stop Using That Q-Tip
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has published
an issue paper on the topic “Earwax and Care” to be used as a guide for
ear health The
first piece of advice: “start by discontinuing the use of cotton-tipped
applicators and the habit of probing the ears”. In other words,
don’t stick Q-Tips in your ears. If you persist in “cleaning” out your
ears, they are more likely to itch, necessitating more scratching:
rubbing the skin in your ears releases histamine, irritating and
inflaming the skin. As ear wax is also a lubricant, removing it can
cause the skin to dry out and result in even greater itch. If
your ears ache, feel full, or you notice impairment in your hearing (or
you’ve already used a Q-Tip and shoved the wax too far down the canal
for it to push itself out), there are are simple, natural remedies to
soften the wax so it can again move on its own. If
you feel you absolutely must give a gentle cleansing, make a mixture of
one part vinegar, one part isopropyl alcohol, and one part water—all at
body temperature—and place a few drops in each ear. Other than that,
nothing smaller than your elbow should ever enter your ear.