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Do not try random ear cleaning services, be careful of puncture to eardrum and dislocating the ear bone

 2023-01-08 20:01

Medical forewords:

The ear has a self-cleaning mechanism, so there is no need to remove earwax using foreign objects. A fine example would be the popular ear candling therapy. The other is the old-fashioned barbershops with ear-cleaning services.

Two major risks of infection and injury

First, the hygiene factor, if there is no proper disinfection on ear cleaning tools, the risk of contracting hepatitis B (hepatitis B), AIDS (HIV), fungi, mold and other diseases will increase.

Second, take the above-mentioned barber’s ear cleaning service, it is highly susceptible to human mistakes leading to damage to the eardrum, ear canal, and epidermis.

Improper care of the ear can have dire consequences

The safest method is micro-suction earwax removal or earwax removal (micro-suction earwax removal) is used by otolaryngologists. or ear vacuum).

The doctor uses an otoscope to illuminate and magnify the inner ear to check for clogged earwax, and then places a long, thin aspirator in the ear to suck out the wax, which is then removed with tweezers.

There are three main features by using the micro-suction method, firstly, the procedure is simple and fast; secondly, the otoscope magnification technology allows the doctor to view the inner, reducing medical errors; the third is that the inner ear is kept dry, which prevents infection.

Micro-suction removal can also be used in special circumstances, such as foreign objects entering the ear, mild otitis external or outer ear infection, history of ear surgery, eardrums ruptures, etc.

The condition known as Wet Earwax

Earwax is commonly known as cerumen in medical terms. Cerumen functions to resist bacteria and fungi by covering the ear with a layer of natural ‘moisturizer’, that serves to block objects from entering the eardrum.

There are two types of conditions: dry earwax and wet earwax. According to my experience, most Chinese have dry earwax, while another 20% have wet earwax. Wet earwax can cause ear blockage and affect hearing.

What about using cotton swabs for ear cleaning?


Many people are used to cleaning their ears with cotton swabs and such a habit may push the earwax deeper, and worse accidentally cut the eardrum, affecting hearing and even causing infection, as such, I don’t recommend using external products to remove earwax.

What causes excessive earwax?

During the “self-cleaning” process, 90% of people do not need to remove earwax at all; 10% of adults have more earwax than the average person, and about 20% of children face the problem of earwax obstruction.

There are two main factors that may cause excessive earwax. First, the ear canal is naturally narrow and easy to produce earwax. For example, children with Down syndrome; second, patients with osteoma of the external auditory canal, commonly known as Surfer’s Ear (exostosis ear or swimmer’s ear) also faces the problem of earwax clogging.

Professional treatments for excessive earwax

If you really have to clean your ear, you can buy over-the-counter earwax softening drops at the pharmacy. These ear drops can soften or even melt the earwax, which is expelled with ear drops.

Some outpatient doctors do offer ear syringes, which remove wax from the patient’s ears

In case you accidentally injure the eardrum, remember to keep your ears dry and seek medical treatment from an ENT doctor immediately.

Sometimes the ears might also be infected by bacteria or fungi, therefore, it is advisable to refrain from ear cleaning routine to prevent aggravating or causing a recurrence.

Article Source:

Medical knowledge. Transcript: Chen Qiulei. 2023.01.16



Dr Raymond Tan Suan-Kuo

Consultant ENT, Head & Neck Surgeon, Snoring & Sleep Apnea Specialist

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