Written by Nickie Fleming in Health
Viewed by 30 readers since 06-04-2009
A healthy person develops ear wax. This is a sticky liquid that is secreted by the cerumen glands. Our skin contains many tiny glands whose sole purpose is to secrete a variety of substances. The function of the ear wax is to trap anything that flies, crawls, or is blown into the ear canals. The wax immobilizes every bit of dirt, small insects, bacteria etc. and acts in a way of speaking as a No Pest Strip.
While it is normal to have ear wax, some people have a problem with it because the glands secrete too much liquid. This can cause a loss of hearing, pain and coughing. When wax completely blocks the hearing canal, it prevents the sound waves from reaching the ear drum. Even a small amount of wax that gets wedged between the ear drum and the ear canal can reduce the ability of the ear drum to conduct sound.
Hence, we all try to clean our ears from wax, and we all know some home remedies. The trick in all of them is to soften up the wax, but never ever use small objects to poke in your ears!
Don’t be tempted to probe for problem wax with paper clips, tweezers, pencils (just name it) – including cotton-tipped swabs! In doing this, you’ll push the wax deeper into the ear, and you might even scratch or damage an ear drum.
No, the better way to go is to use an ear syringe to irrigate the ear wax. To do this right, you need a rubber ear syringe (available at most pharmacies) and a fair amount of lukewarm water (neither warm nor cold). Hold your head over a sink or lavabo while you gently squirt the water into your ear. This allows water and wax to run into the sink. Once you are done with washing, be sure to dry the ear canal. To do this, you fill an eyedropper with rubbing alcohol and squeeze the alcohol into the ear. It will absorb moisture and dry the ear.
If the wax is of a sturdy nature, and refuses to budge, you need to soften it up before you begin to irrigate. You can do this with baby oil, which you warm up to body temperature. Then you place a few drops of it into the ear, twice a day. The baby oil will melt or soften the wax. Another softening up method is the use of peroxide. You can fill the ear with some drops of peroxide and let it bubble and work for five minutes or so. If you put a piece of cotton in the opening of the ear canal, you can even sit up while the peroxide works. Also stool softeners can do the trick. A stool softener found in most drugstores can soften up ear wax. By using an eyedropper, you put in a few drops of liquid in each ear and leave it there for a few minutes to an hour (depending on how stubborn the ear wax is). Afterwards, irrigate the ears with water.