Ear Infection Doctor

WHY Q-TIPS ARE HARMFUL TO YOUR EAR

Q-tipSee the image on the left? Yup, the ever famous q tip! This little thing is used by thousands, even millions worldwide to clean their ears everyday.

But, did you know that using Q-tips in your ears can actually do you more harm than good?

Take a look at our skin. Everyday it gets dry, cells are being replaced by new skin cells everyday , we take a bath everyday just to keep our skin clean.

We also have similar skin lining our ear canal.

So, the question is do you have to clean your ears everyday , as you do to the rest of your skin? The answer is NO. you do not “NEED” to clean your ears. And the reason is EARWAX. ear diagram

A lot of people view earwax as just dirt in the ear canal. The fact is earwax helps protect your sensitive ear canal by trapping dirt, sand, insects and other foreign substances.

Earwax is the ear’s moisturizer, it helps prevent excessive dryness in the ear canal and on the outer ear. 

It also repels water.

And, it acts as an antibacterial agent- it helps prevent infection.

Think about it, we already have this built-in self-cleaning, moisturizing, anti-bacterial mechanism in our ears, and yet everyday, we strip our ears of it.

ear canal diagramWhat is worse, is that by using q-tips, if you are not removing the earwax, you are actually pushing it in, into an area, where it is not able to clean itself. Unlike skin in the rest of the body which is replaced in an upward direction., meaning old cells slowly go up where they eventually end in the top layer and easily removed by friction, the skin in the ear canal goes out by MIGRATION: meaning skin goes from the center of the ear drum, to the edge of the eardrum and then goes out slowly to the ear canal. This skin as well as other debris is mixed with the oil and secretions from glands in the outer 1/3 of the ear canal is what forms the earwax.

When you push the earwax in and it builds up inside the canal, it may be more prone to accumulate fungus, bacteria which may cause ear infections

This can also block your hearing and cause deafness, or it may eve n rupture your eardrum

Another reason why you should not clean your ears is because unlike the skin in the rest of the body which is 5 layers thick, the skin in the inner 2/3 of the ear canal is very very thin and is surrounded by bone. By cleaning your ears with q-tips you may be creating micro-abrasions, as well as releasing histamine which causes itchiness. As a reflex of course, when something is itchy, you scratch it again. By doing that, you are actually creating a viscious “scratch-and-itch” cycle. And that pattern has to stop.

It is best to see your ENT doctor so you can have your ears cleaned by a medical professional.eustachian tube ear diagram

In summary, the earwax is the ear’s self cleaning mechanism. It is a water repellant, a moisturizer, and an anti bacterial agent. And this is what happens when you use q-tips to clean your ears:

1. You make our ear canals dry

2. You push the earwax in

3. You may block your hearing,

4. You may rupture your eardrum,

5. You may cause ear infections, and,

6. You create viscious “scratch-and-itch” cycle in your ear.

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How to care for your ears

Your ears are important because they are the organs for hearing. But did you know that they are also important for you to maintain your balance, as well as serve the function of pressure equalization?

Most times, however, we take our ears for granted in ways which we are not aware of. I will now be giving you advice on the 4 ways of caring for your ears.

  1.  APhilippines ear nose throat doctor imageVOID PUTTING OBJECTS INTO YOUR EARS

You have heard it before since you were a kid: Never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear.

The earwax is the ear’s self cleaning mechanism. It is produced in your ear canal and it naturally moves a few millimeters every few day. So there is no “need” to clean your ears everyday. In fact, when you use q-tips or bobbie pins, you are only pushing the ear wax in, and you may injure your ear canal or puncture your eardrum.

Philippines ear infection doctor

  1.   2. BE CONSCIOUS OF NOISE DAMAGE

Have you ever gone into a noisy situation like a rock concert or a club and when you went out, you felt ringing in your ears or went a bit deaf? That means, it was TOO LOUD and you’ve exposed your ears to acoustic trauma.

The same goes for other activities such as mowing the lawn or using power tools. Make sure you use protective ear equipment when doing these things around the house.

When you are using your ipod or mp3 player and other people can hear what you are listening to, then it is too loud. Do not increase the volume of your music player when listening on your earphones in a loud environment. You are unknowingly setting the volume too loud. (Try checking the volume again when listening in a quiet room, and you will know what I mean)

Most people do not think of hearing loss when they are young. But remember, HEARING LOSS IS CUMULATIVE and you will feel it when you get older

  1. USE PRESSURE EQUALIZATION TECHNIQUES Philippines ear nose throat

Your ear is connected to the back of the nose or nasopharynx via the Eustachian tube. The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum which serves the function of pressure equalization. This is more evident when flying in a plane or scuba diving.

Pressure equalization techniques such as swallowing while you pinch your ears or chewing gum may lessen the increased ear pressure when the plane ascends or descends.

When you fly with a cold, it may be advisable to take decongestants before a flight to avoid nasal discharge from flowing back into the middle ear space and causing middle ear effusion.

  1. CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR WHEN YOU FEEL PAIN OR PUS COMING FROM YOUR EAR

Home-made ear concoctions and self-medication are not advised as this can actually worsen your ear problem. In short, it can do more harm than good.

It is best to consult a Philippines ear nose and throat doctor whenever you have ear infections or ear problems.

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