Earwax: cotton swabs mostly damage the ears

Earwax: cotton swabs mostly damage the ears

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After a shower or a visit to the swimming pool, it often feels like the ear is blocked. Shaking your head, jumping around or knocking cautiously usually does not help. This is why many people use ear sticks. But experts absolutely advise against this. Instead, an ENT specialist should be consulted who professionally cleans the ears and can thus relieve symptoms such as ear pressure.

Water causes ear wax to swell
Many people know the feeling when it presses and pinches in the ear and you only hear "as if through cotton wool". It gives the impression that it is blocked - which is usually the case. Because the cause often lies in ear wax (cerumen), which has swollen due to contact with water when washing hair or swimming, explains specialist Jan Löhler from the professional association of ear, nose and throat doctors in an interview with "dpa".

Chopsticks can pierce the eardrum in an emergency
In this case, the cotton swab is often used directly, but according to the experts, this should be avoided at all costs. “This only pushes the wax into your ear,” explains Löhler. There is also the risk that the swab will damage or even pierce the eardrum. It is also possible that the ear wax is pushed onto the eardrum. This can have nasty consequences, because cleaning will become more difficult "[...] and possibly even more painful because the doctor has to scrape off the impurities from the eardrum," continued Löhler. Sprays or rinsing balls for self-cleaning of the ears are also not recommended, because "they have a limited use, especially because you cannot look into your own ears."

Ear wax protects the ear canal from contamination
Instead of self-treatment in the bathroom at home, an ear, nose and throat doctor should always be consulted for blocked ears. The doctor can remove the ear wax with a special checkmark or rinse the ears, the costs being borne by the health insurance companies, according to the medical association. Löhler explains that those who suffer from congested ears more often are predisposed to an increased ear wax formation, and men are more likely to be affected than women. The risk is also increased for people who regularly use their ears e.g. have to close with noise protection due to work, wear a hearing aid or sleep with earplugs. In general, however, the ear wax has an important function, because it has a nourishing and antibacterial effect, and "and it protects the ear canal from dirt and dust penetrating deeper," says the expert.

Home remedies for tight wax
If too much ear wax is produced, a clogged ear can also be prevented with natural home remedies. For example, due to their softening and fat-dissolving effect, high-quality oils such as almond or walnut oil come into question, which can be combined with essential oils (e.g. chamomile) if necessary. After an exposure time of several hours, the use of an ear candle can intensify the effect. A steam bath with chamomile flowers, over which the affected ear is held for a few minutes, has also proven to be an effective remedy for tight ear wax. (No)

Author and source information

Video: Ear wax removal: Cotton swabs send dozens of kids to the ER every day, new study says - TomoNews


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