Ear Wax &
Covid 19 self help advice
Before we begin
Firstly lets take a moment to ask ourselves some very important questions.
Our ears are very precious. There are certain instances when we should err on the side of caution and not interfere with our ears at all in case we make the whole situation no matter how bad worse.
If you were to attend an appointment with any medical pratitioner they would first ask a series of questions. The answers to these questions help determine safe and unsafe courses of action.
They are basically a background of your medical history and an assesment of your symptoms.
Do you have or have or have you ever had a perforation of the ear drum.
Do you have or have you ever had grommits.
Have you ever had ear surgery.
Do you have had recently or have a history of ear infections.
If the answer is YES then please seek further advice from a specialist. We would advise against any self help without this advice.
Wax is good
Secondly, it’s important to remember that we have wax in our ears for a reason. It is not a sign of poor hygiene. Our ear health would be in a sorry state if it wasn’t for ear wax.
Wax is antibacterial and antifungal reducing the risk of infection in our ears. Wax also traps dirt, debris, insects and other foreign bodies from damaging your eardrum. Ear wax is better than anything you might be tempted to put in your ear.
It also acts as a lubricant and protects against water.
Wax problems? What to do
Leave it alone
Not easy advice to follow if you are having problems but this can sometimes work. Why? Well, ear wax should fall out naturally of its own accord. The skin of the ear grows out from the ear drum in a spiral motion and with the help of ear wax this conveyor like motion normally carries along with it any wax dead skin cells hairs and foreign bodies. This process is called Epitheleal migration, to give it its medical term. In tests a piece foreign body placed close to the ear drum takes approximately a year to make its journey out of the ear. Eventually the concoction of these elements which we call ear wax progresses to the outer opening of the ear cannal and falls out. However it is a slow process and may be hindered and somtimes stopped for various reasons. We will descuss these later. If the process is hindered there are some actions you may use to reboot the system and hopefully the wax will naturally fall out of its own accord.
Add a little oil
A little oil may sometimes help ease the problem and kick start the backed up natural conveyor belt like process of moving wax along the ear canal. We would advise using an oil applicator. These are simply small bottles of oil which have a conical spray aplicator which sprays a fine mist directly into the ear. There are various brands available from pharmacists over the counter. One or two sprays twice a day for a period of around five days are what we would recommend. This will help soften the edges and surfaces of the wax enabling it to move along.(If this does not solve your problem then please seek seek specialist advice.) It never hurts to ask your pharmacist's advice when purchasing. Avoid over use of the oil. Over use can lead to maseration, of the ear canal skin. This is where the skin becomes wrinkly and too soft similar to when we sit in the bath too long. This creates too good an enviroment for fungal spores and bacteria to multiply. This of course can lead to further complications. Simply place the aplictor in the entrance of the ear cannal with your head tilted so the sprayed ear is slightly elevated and depress the aplicator either once or twice.
If you can't get access to an aplicator then don't despair. Oil may be aplied either by yourself or with someones help. In this case tilt your head or ideally lie down so that the relevant ear is facing upwards. Apply a small amount of oil with a dropper, approximately two drops are sufficient. Again avoid over use of oil. Keep the ear in this position for five minutes to allow as much of the oil as possible to be absorbed. You may find that when you come out of this position that some oil may run out of your ear. This can be wiped away but avoid the temptation to plug the ear with cotton wool or anything else. This plug can absorb the oil in the ear thus defeat the object of the procedure.
There are various oils which may be used. We would always recommend olive oil bought specifically for this purpose. If you decide to use other oils please check first that they are pure and have no addatives and that you do not have an allergy to the oil.
If the problem has not been resolved after the five days then we would reccomend seeking help from a specialist. The specialist will have the availability of equipment to make a detailed in depth assesment of you ear and the experience to know which step to take next.
There are other over the counter solutions available which may contain Sodium bicarbonate or Hydrogen Peroxide. We would advice extream caution using these solutiions. We would not advise their use unless you have consulted a specialist. We are not saying that they are not to be used but are advising caution. Even if you have had advice and feel in any way usure or find the sensation of their use in any way not happy STOP. You are probably right. We only advise their use when a client is in urgent need of wax removal. in this case we would advise the use of the solution again only if they feel it is safe after advice and within two days of a further appointment to complete treatment. These solution can resolve wax problems but are a very
Talk Chew Yawn
Move Your Jaw. The action of moving your jaw will help move wax along the ear cannal. This can be anything from talking, chewing or yawning. You have probably experienced the poping sensation in your ears sometimes when you yawn. Its similar to the r[pressure we experience when flying. Chewwing gum is a good way of keeping your jaw moving or even just moaning to others about your problem
What does impacted wax mean and what causes it then?
Wax is produced more or less at the point we can reach with our fingers, cotton buds etc. We are tempted to pick and scratch which can feel very satisfying. Our ears, being very intelligent little organs, interpret these actions as irritants. If our ears are irritated in any way or have any foreign body inserted more wax will be produced and then the vicious cycle begins.
Impaction is caused when we push the wax further into the ears (often by using cotton buds) or when our ears produce too much wax and the wax conveyor belt litrally gets backed up! Some superficial wax will be removed with the cotton bud however most of the wax will be pushed deeper into the ear towards the eardrum.
This excessive amount of earwax can cause many problems such as hearing loss, nausea, infection, tinnitus (ringing or other internal noises). Some people suffer from Vertigo and may suffer balance problems.