The cerumen in the ear has the function of cleaning, lubricating and protecting it from external aggressions. However, for a variety of reasons, wax can sometimes dry out, build up, harden, and block the eardrum.
It is estimated that one in 13 adults suffers from wax hardening. “In the adult population, up to 4% consult due to earwax plug, being the removal of earwax plug the most frequent procedure in the practice of general otorhinolaryngology.”
Among the most frequent symptoms when the ear is plugged are a hearing deficiency, feeling dizzy or unbalanced and even constantly hearing certain sounds (tinnitus), explains Dr. Walter Monterrosa, a doctor at the Fundación Clínicas sin Fronteras.
Although it is true that the ear must be cleaned frequently on the outside, a frequent mistake is to want to clean it internally with cotton swabs, because, in addition to pushing the earwax inward, a piece of cotton could come off and lodge in the ear.
The main recommendation for daily cleaning of the ear is the use of the tip of a soft cloth on the outside. When it comes to cleaning inside, the use of drops of some oil such as olive, mineral or some cerumenolytic (substance with the ability to soften or lubricate the wax) is recommended. However, it must be taken into account that some people may have allergic reactions to cerumenolytics, so they should also be avoided in case of dermatitis.
Tips for cleaning:
- Before cleaning your ears, wash your hands or do it while you shower.
- Do not insert swabs into the canal. It is better to use the tip of the cloth.
- Never use foreign objects or sharp devices that could generate an eardrum perforation or infection.
- Periodic cleaning is recommended in patients with hearing aids and people with mental disabilities.
- If you use hearing aids frequently, remember to visit the doctor.
- Clean your hearing aids at least once a week.
Although it is true, irrigation is a relatively simple extraction maneuver, it must be carried out by qualified health personnel, so a visit to the doctor is recommended to analyze the individual situation of each patient.
This was emphasized by Dr. Monterrosa, since the ear is an organ that must be treated with great care and self-medication can also be risky, especially when it comes to antibiotics.