Are there still people out there who clean their ears with a match stick or a safety pin? If yes, then this might make them come to their senses.
The sense of hearing is made possible by the ear to all the living beings. But what makes a man unique is his ability to stand up and face the world ahead. And it is his ears that make this happen. This pair of organs not is not only designed to process the sounds but also to maintain the balance of the body.
The ear is a highly sensitive organ which can capture sounds with a frequency as low as 20Hz i.e. 20 vibrations of the eardrum per second. It can distinguish a single sound from a background of noise. It is also capable of discriminating different sounds from a multitude like that of a musical chord. It can analyse tiny alterations in the frequency, the intensity and the duration of sound and even grasp the direction of sound. Therefore, it is an instrument of versatility.
The ear consists of three basic parts – the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The Outer ear consists of the ear flap and the ear canal while the ear drum is placed safely in the middle ear. The skin of the ear canal is lined with hair follicles and glands that produce ear wax or cerumen. This protects the eardrum from dust, dirt or any external particle by trapping them on their way in.
Ear Blockage or Wax Blockage
In some people, the glands produce an excess of ear wax. If they fail to clean it in a regular pattern it may accumulate inside the ear and cause a blockage in the ear canal. Accumulation and hardening of ear wax is one of the common cases of loss of hearing. While cleaning the wax might get pushed back into the ear drum causing an obstruction. Any sharp substance used to clean the ear wax may injure the eardrum leading to a permanent hearing loss.
How to find out an increasing wax deposit?
An instrument of wondrous capabilities, the ear is so undemanding. One hardly needs to pay much attention to it. It has its cleaning mechanism by which the ear wax drops out. But ear wax deposit left unattended for a longer while can interfere with one’s hearing. Partial hearing loss is often a symptom of Ear Blockage. A blockage may manifest in some in the form of fullness in the ear or a sensation or ringing sounds in the ear called tinnitus. Temporary deafness troubles some others. Ear wax deposit also brings about ear pain and cough and in rare cases it meddles with the equilibrium of the body. It is then that one has to rush to an ENT specialist.
Most often, little children suffer from ear pain due to wax blockage. Parents adeptly deal with them using wax softeners at home. Some of the wax softeners used are drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerine or ear wax removal drops. These home treatments are availed when it’s just a blockage and not a perforated eardrum or swimmer’s ear.
What does the ENT do with Wax Blockage?
An ENT has a variety of tools to remove the wax depending upon its location and formation. Doctor’s use a small, curved instrument called a curette to scoop out wax. Some do not recommend it as it can potentially damage the ears if used carelessly. We have a two-sided silver curette at home though one has never used it personally. A water pick or a rubber-bulb syringe filled with warm water is also used to remove the wax. The suction method is also practised by ENTs. The irrigation method cleans the ear by shooting warm water in. It is not widely appreciated as it can be quite uncomfortable.
There is another technique used in some countries like China and Egypt named ear candling. Yes, you guessed it right. A burning wick and a candle used to melt it all out. This is a very foolish and hazardous technique of ear cleaning according to many Specialists.
Taking care of the ears
It is not an arduous job to protect your ears.
o Clean your outer ears with a wet wash cloth.
o Do not put things like a Q-tip into your ears. Don’t even think of pins or sticks. The use of cotton swabs may damage the inner ear or may cause an ear blockage. An adult finger with a wash cloth used carefully may serve the purpose.
o Do not expose your ears to loud noise. Use earmuffs! Shouting aloud is also damaging to your ears.
o The same with lower noise.
o Smoking can also cause tinnitus. Another excuse to stop smoking.
o Sinus problems can also lead to blocked ears.
o Check-up with an ENT in a periodical pattern.