Ear wax is an essential part of the hearing system. The term refers to a grey or yellowish substance that is waxy to the touch. This substance is present within the ear canal and is important because it not only helps with the lubrication within the ear but also because it helps keep bacteria, fungi, water, and insects at bay. Therefore, the substance itself is not a problem when it comes to your health. However, excess of ear wax can lead to problems, and this is when it needs to be treated.
Having large amounts of ear wax in the ear canal can cause problems with hearing and even lead to an acute loss of the same. Therefore, it is important to get the problem treated so that you can hear as clearly as you did before.
There are effective treatments for ear wax. You will either be given softeners which will allow the hardened wax to become pliable and easily removable or will be asked to go through a cleaning procedure with an ENT. In this procedure, a sterilized instrument shaped like a scoop will be used to scoop out the excess ear wax and clean out your ears.
The first step to getting the treatment done is to go and visit an ENT. The ENT will have a look inside your ear to see what the problem is and all that is needed for the diagnosis. There are no specific tests as this is something that can be confirmed visually. Once it is confirmed that your loss of hearing is because of too much ear wax, then the treatment can begin.
If there is hardened ear wax in your ear that cannot be removed without causing pain or injury, then the first step is to start with a softener. The softener can be anything like olive oil or castor oil. It will be administered with a dropper and put inside your ear so that the wax begins to get wet and get softer. Once that is achieved, it can be removed. Another way to administer the treatment is to simply scoop out the additional wax with the help of an instrument that is shaped like a scoop. It cleans out the entire ear and helps restore the hearing perfectly. Sometimes, additional items such as gauze will be used to clean the ears along with an antiseptic to ensure that no infection occurs. The procedure is generally painless though a little discomfort can be expected as the cleaning occurs.
If you are experiencing the loss of hearing or feeling as though your ear is congested or stuffed, then you can visit an ENT and seek the treatment for excess ear wax.
If you have an ear infection or are suffering from other medical conditions related to your ears, then you may not be eligible for the treatment. It all depends on what your doctor says about your problem.
There are no side effects to getting your ears cleaned. However, using an unsterilized instrument to clean the ear may cause infections. Furthermore, cleaning the ear harshly or without softening can lead to injury and pain.
There are no post treatment guidelines. Ear wax is natural and is a part of your system. Though you can get regular check-ups with your ENT to prevent a large scale build-up of ear wax.
The procedure to clean your ear can take anywhere between 15 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on whether the wax first needs to be softened or not. The recovery is immediate and your hearing will be restored immediately.
Getting your ears cleaned can cause anywhere between Rs. 200 – Rs. 1,000, depending on where you get the treatment from.
Since the building up of ear wax is natural, you can expect the condition to return if you do not clean your ears on a regular basis.
There is no alternative to the treatment. Using Q tips at home should be strictly avoided as they pack the wax further within the ear into a tighter mass, rather than helping you clean it all. They are very bad for you and should not be used.
Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal, the passage that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum. It can be caused by many different types of bacteria or fungi.
Swimmer’s ear is a kind of infection which occurs in the outer ear canal and it results in an infected ear canal, long-term pain and irritation. Swimmer’s ear, as you can understand by the name, is referred in such a way because it is caused by water which is left inside the ear after swimming. The stuck water inside the canal gets damp where bacteria and fungus grows and results in an infection. Now we will discuss what are the causes that can bring such a condition.
Causes of Swimmer’s Ear - There are many reasons because of which people suffer from a swimmer’s ear: The entry of too much water inside the ear canal, leaves a part of it inside the ear which eventually allows bacteria to infest. The overcleaning of the ear canal with cotton buds causes the ear wax to come out which allows water to enter. When cosmetic chemicals like hair spray, enter the ears, it causes a sensitive chemical reaction which can lead to infection. Careless scratching inside the ear can result in small cuts inside the sensitive canal, where bacteria can infest. Swimming in water without covering your ears can also cause this.
So next time when you are swimming or scratching your ear without safety, remember that it can cause a swimmer’s ear. But you may have a question in mind, how will I know if I am suffering from this? We have thus listed the symptoms as well.
Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear-
Constant itching and irritation inside the ear. The pain or itching increases when you pull your year or chew something. There is an acute sensation of blockage inside the ear which is caused because of this condition and results in reduced levels of hearing. Someone suffering from swimmer's ear will have pus or ear fluids draining out from their ears.
Swimmer’s ear condition can be easily prevented if you follow some simple but very effective steps like blocking your ear with buds while swimming, cleaning the ear softly so that no water remains stuck etc. If you neglect any of the symptoms, they can result in a very chronic disease which can even result in hearing loss. So read through our article and understand what Swimmer’s ear is.
Ear discharge is a common problem. The medical term that refers to this condition is otorrhea. The reason behind ear discharge could be multiple. The discomfort is caused due to a number of factors, including bacterial infection, head injuries and excessive ear wax. There are various kinds of drainage, like blood, milky white fluid or wax. It can be noted that drainage of earwax yellow to orange or brown in colour is not a health issue. Other types of ear drainage need treatment or medical attention, depending on the severity of the situation.
Drainage due to ruptured ear drum: In some cases, it is found that there is drainage due to rupturing of the ear drum. It can be remembered that the rupturing of ear drum is not a medical emergency. The drainage, in this case, is clear. It may be mixed with blood or fully bloody. Symptoms in this case range from ear-ringing, intense ear pain, hearing loss to drainage. Eardrum can get ruptured due to the following reasons:
You will have to remember that this is not an emergency case. The rupture gets repaired or healed naturally. However, if the problem worsens it is best to see a doctor. For healing the rupture, doctors may undertake a tympanoplasty. The doctor might also ask you to try a solution of 1% topical sodium hyaluronate.
Ear drainage due to excessive ear wax: This is a normal condition. It doesn’t usually require medical intervention. However, if the blockage of wax is not removed by natural means or simple cleaning using cotton swabs, oil or hydrogen peroxide, take help from a doctor.
Ear drainage due to infection: If you have been infected by a foreign invader like bacteria, you are likely to notice milky white fluid oozing out of your ear. The infection can be accompanied by fever and pain in the ear. The odour of the discharge is offensive.
Ear drainage due to head injuries: This is dangerous of all other drainage condition. It needs immediate medical intervention. The drainage is definitely bloody in nature. A Large amount of the drainage may contain the cerebral spinal fluid.
Reasons to seek immediate help from your doctor
1. Unbearable pain
2. High fever
3. Blow to the head/skull
4. Sudden loss of hearing
5. Injury caused by a sharp object, leading to drainage bloody in nature.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Ear wax is mainly natural oil secreted by the ears so that no dust particles or harmful microorganisms can enter the organ. But sometimes, discharge is noticed from the ear that can happen due to some reasons. The fluid can get discharged from the ear due to infection or can also happen due to rupture of the ear drum. Such discharge is also known as otorrhea if talked in medical term. Also, sometimes due to nostril congestion or even for some accident or trauma, such discharge may take place.
Symptoms noticed in ear discharge
Ear discharge can be anything such as wax or blood or any other fluid.
• The color of the discharge may range from white to yellow or even gray.
• Also at times, the discharge may have a foul smell if it is due to some bacterial infection.
• The discharge may get accompanied by ear pain, fever, and headache.
Both in kids and adults, this can lead to an extreme level of discomfort that may lead to failure in hearing at times.
Causes of ear discharge
There can be some causes for ear discharge to happen. Some of the causes are:
• Excess amount of wax in the ear,
• Rupture of the eardrum due to some injury,
• High noise pollution,
• Spending extra time in water,
• Infection caused by bacteria,
• Inflammation or damage to the Eustachian tubes,
• Infection due to inflammation of adenoids,
• Increased atmospheric pressure.
Treatments of ear discharge
If the discharge is due to excess amount of wax, then this problem can get cured after some time on cleaning. But if it is due to some other problems, then it needs treatment. In normal circumstances, if it is just the initial stage, then the doctor may suggest some antibiotics. Also, ear drops are suggested to treat the ear drum, or even a vinegar solution can be suggested.
But in the case of an extreme situation, when the problem has increased, surgery is the solution. The doctor inserts a tiny tube that connects the outer ear to the middle ear through the ear drum, and this process is known as bilateral myringotomy.
Prevention from ear discharge
Though now there are several ways to treat such problem, of course, prevention is always better than cure.
• Ear should not be cleaned with any pointed object,
• Scratching the ears with sharp object can also cause problems,
• Use muffs while traveling in place where atmospheric pressure may change,
• After swimming or even after a bath, you should carefully dry your ears,
• Smoking causes ear infection that leads to such complications,
Ear infection or ear discharge can thus get caused due to some reasons, and hence proper prevention can help in staying away from it. But in case if you suffer from such causes, it is necessary to visit the doctor without any further delays.
What is a foreign body (FB)?
Foreign body or FB is an object or piece of extraneous matter that has entered the body by accident or design. It is common to see certain items getting stuck in the ear, nose or throat especially, in young children. While most of the time they do not raise an alarm, however, sometimes they can lead to severe consequences like rupture of the eardrum or even choking.
How do FBs affect ear, nose and throat?
Managing FB in the ear, nose and throat
Foreign bodies in the nose:
Symptoms: Pain and difficulty in breathing from that side of the nose.
Management: Keep the uninvolved nostril closed by pressing a finger against the side of the nose and gently ask the person to blow from the affected nostril.
Foreign bodies in the throat:
Symptoms: Choking, inability to breathe and speak
Management: Perform Heimlich maneuver: abdominal thrusts, if trained otherwise, it is advised to call for medical help immediately.
How can you prevent foreign bodies from entering your ear, nose, throat?
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Hearing is an essential process in everyone's life. Be it your social life or professional activities, hearing influences every aspect of your life. You can thus, never ignore the health of your ears to enjoy a healthy life. But there are several hindrances to obstruct effective hearing. One of the problems is the accumulation of a natural substance called cerumen produced by the glands present in the ear canal. The accumulated cerumen is medically referred to as Earwax. Over production of cerumen is mainly triggered by the deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and magnesium.
The basic function of the wax is to protect the ear canal from invasion by foreign particles like bacteria and dust particles. This is necessary for the smooth functioning of the ear and its protection from invaders. However, it becomes an irritating problem when the earwax is produced in excess. The problem aggravates when the ear canal is blocked due to accumulation of earwax. In such cases, we use certain objects such as bobby pins, Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean the accumulated earwax from the ear canal. What we do not realise is that pricking the wax using these objects can sometime cause significant damage to the ear. These objects push the wax deep inside the canal, leading to blockage.
The most common symptoms of excessive earwax are as follows:
Here are the preventive measures to remove ear wax blockage: