Sharjah: Contrary to popular belief, cleaning out wax from your ears is not advisable, explains Dr Charanjeet Singh Notay, ENT Surgeon, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah.
Only the pinna, the projecting part of the ear, can be wiped with a soft wash cloth or a tissue. One should never have to clean their ear canals as they have an inbuilt self-cleansing system, he explains.
There is usually a slow and orderly migration of the skin lining the ear canal from the ear drum to the outer opening of the ear canal. Old wax is constantly being transported from the deeper areas of the ear canals to the outer part where it usually dries, flakes and falls out. Movements of the lower jaw also helps in pushing the ear wax outwards.
Ear wax is produced by special glands in the ear canals for a good reason. It traps dust, bacteria and other particles that might cause injury, irritation or infection in the ears. A coating of ear wax within the ear canals maintains a healthy pH in the ear canal and also acts as temporary water repellant. Absence of ear wax may result in dry, itchy ears and even infection.
Ear wax varies in form and appearance from person to person. It may be almost liquid, firm and solid, or dry and flaky. The colour of ear wax varies depending upon its composition.
If you have a build-up of wax that is blocking your hearing, or you have pain or itching in your ears, see your doctor to get the ear wax removed. Cotton-tipped swabs, bobby pins, keys or sharp pointed objects should never be used for ear cleaning. Commercially available cotton-tipped swabs can do more harm than good by pushing the wax deeper into your ear canals, even up against your ear drum, where it can interfere with hearing. Not only that, they can also injure the delicate skin of the ear canals or poke a hole in your ear drum, either of which can lead to infection with serious consequences. Such products should rather bear a warning label ‘Don’t put in your ears.’
If ear wax is truly bothering you and you need to remove it, have a doctor do it for you.
© Khaleej TimesJun 2013