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Remove ear wax correctly - without cotton swabs
Although the packaging of cotton swabs indicates that the so-called Q-tips should not be used to clean the ears, this warning is often ignored. It can be dangerous. Ear cleaning should be done in a different way.
Cotton swabs can damage the ears
Earwax sometimes leads to poor hearing. In addition, it does not look nice when it is visible in the ear. The cleaning actually takes place all by itself, as excess ear wax is transported from the ear canal into the outer ear cup through tiny hairs. Many people still try to help with cotton swabs. But these mostly damage the ears.
Ear wax fulfills important functions
Ear wax is a body's own secretion, which serves the body's own self-cleaning of the ears. It ensures that the skin in the ear canal remains supple and the protective acid mantle is maintained. This way fewer germs can penetrate. Ear wax is yellowish-brown in color and has a bitter taste and is formed in specialized sebaceous glands in the external auditory canal.
Warnings are ignored
Although warnings such as "Not suitable for ear cleaning" are attached to the packaging of cotton swabs, many continue to poke. This often leads to an appointment with an ear doctor.
"The chopsticks can irritate or even injure the ear canal or eardrum, or the ear wax - when pushed deep into the ear canal - can dry up and become an unpleasant, firm plug," explained Dr. Doris Hartwig-Bade from the German professional association of ear, nose and throat doctors in an older message.
Ear wax is not an indication of impurity
Ear, nose and throat specialists in the USA also warn against using Q-tips for ear cleaning. The "American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation" has published a current guide to inform about correct and healthy cleaning of the ears.
Seth R. Schwartz, who was instrumental in creating the guide, said: “There are more and more people who want to clean their ears because they believe that wax is an indication of impurity. This misinformation leads to unhealthy habits. "
Remove dirt with a washcloth
For reasons of hygiene, it is unnecessary to clear the ears of lard, as this serves to keep the hearing organ clean. As it is slowly pushed towards the exit, it takes away shed skin and dirt and dust particles.
All of this can then be removed in the auricle, for example with a washcloth or cotton pad, moistened with a little lukewarm water. Or you can let warm water run into your ear while showering, without shampoo or soap, and then dry the ear cups well.
Ear wax is pushed deeper into the ear
Why do cotton swabs often turn unpleasantly brown when they are pulled out of the ear? As experts explain, this is only due to the ear wax that sat at the very front of the ear canal.
But in the deeper regions, the stick does the opposite: instead of removing the wax, it is pushed deeper into the ear and pressed down. This can sometimes lead to the formation of a plug in the ear, which can lead to impaired hearing, pressure, earache, itching, ringing in the ears and dizziness.
Sometimes professional ear cleaning makes sense
However, for people who have a very narrow ear canal or where the ear wax has dried up, the natural self-cleaning mechanism may not be sufficient.
In such cases, professional ear cleaning from an ENT doctor can help. Those affected should best discuss with their doctor how often such treatment should be given.
Dr. Hartwig-Bade from the German Professional Association of Otorhinolaryngologists said: “Above all, people who produce an excessive amount of ear wax should go to the ENT doctor every 3 to 6 months so that the plug does not impair their hearing. Children, too, often produce more ear wax, and parents should have this checked by an ENT doctor, ”said the doctor.
Some people also use ear candle therapy to clean the ear canal. However, this is primarily for relaxation. According to the current US directive, the candles are not suitable for cleaning. (ad)