This is a perfect book to help ease the mind of a child that might be
frightened of ear tube surgery.
The article to the
right pretty much covers the bases when it comes to ear wax. What
most people don't know about ears is that, like the feet and hands, ears
have trigger points which correspond to different parts of the body.
This book is one of the most comprehensive and interesting books around
when it comes to learning more about the reflexology involved with the
auricular (ear) points.
Question: What's the deal with
earwax? And what's the best way to get rid of ear
Answer: Granted, cleaning your
ears feels kind of nice. Right? Like scratching an itch. Getting out that
nasty looking orange/brown/yellow wax gives one a sense of accomplishment.
We look at the stain on the Q-Tip with a certain element of personal
One good and safe way to
effectively eliminate ear wax is through the use of ear
candles. To learn more about ear candles, click
here. To purchase
high quality ear candles manufactured in the Hopi tradition,
We clean out our noses. No one readily
admits to picking his nose, but we all do it ... some of use more
blatantly than others. What else are we to do at red
The big difference between taking some nasal crusts
(that's boogers -- now there is a good medical term) and removing earwax
is that one is important and the other is not. Both have a bad
We wax our tables and we wax our cars in order to
protect the surface. That is exactly one of the functions of earwax
(cerumen). A waxy surface repels water -- it will bead up and the water
will not adhere. Another protective function of earwax is preventing
infection. Earwax is acidic, and bacteria does not thrive in an acid
environment. If you take out the wax, you change the acidity of the ear
canal lining and you are asking for an infection. If you take out earwax
every few days, or even after every shower, your body will just make more
and more. Why? Because it is supposed to be there. You should no more
remove all of the saliva from your mouth, or the tears from your eyes,
than remove the wax from your ears.
self-cleaning (just like the eyes or nose). By gravity and body heat, the
wax will gradually make it to the opening where you can wipe if off with a
washcloth or rinse it away in the shower. That is all you really need to
do with earwax.
You can have too much of a good thing,
however. We can't be like the movie character Shrek, who made a nice
candle from earwax. If we have a wax impaction, it will cause a
significant conductive hearing loss. It will also trap water behind it and
cause all kind of annoying "sloshing" sounds. It is only when you have a
wax impaction that you can clean
out your ears.
A few rules:
Never attempt to clean
out an ear that is painful and/or presumed to be infected. To do so could
cause additional pain and/or ear damage. Second, you don't use
Q-tips in the ears. Q-tips do not fit very well and will gradually pack
the wax back against your eardrum (just like loading a cannon by tamping
down the powder). If you want to use them to clean the ear opening, that's
OK, but don't dig around deep in the ear canal.
Never clean out an ear that has "tubes" or if the
eardrum is known to be perforated. This is a big no-no. The safest way to
clean out a wax impaction is with warm water -- either from your shower
(just let a gentle stream hit your ears) or the gentle stream of an ear
syringe (you can buy them at the pharmacy). If you use the syringe,
remember -- just the warm water goes in the ear. Don't put the syringe in
your ear, or you will surely have trouble. If you have a history of
very dry and hard wax, you may need to use some wax- softening agents
prior to the warm-water wash. You can by various brands at the pharmacy.
Think about getting a home otoscope. Although you can't look in your own
ears, you can train someone else to look in yours. Then you will know if
the ear is "clean."
So remember: Earwax = Good; Boogers =
And if you find yourself overloaded with Q-Tips, here
are some uses you might not have thought of:
for those who do not want to overexert themselves. Cannon
plungers for your miniature cannon. Paint brushes (actually, a
very good use). Martha Stewart would be proud. Use them for
cleaning the gunk between the keys of your computer keyboard or that stuff
in your comb. Use them as substitute birthday candles for people
afraid of fire. (Do not light them!) Can be used as toothpicks
for people who have wide gaps between their teeth. Can become
substitute cigarettes for those trying to stop but who still
need some oral gratification. (Do not light them!) Use them
to clean the quills of your pet porcupine. Let your kids use them
instead of Popsicle sticks when making those attractive picture
frames and jewelry boxes for Mother's Day. Shoot them out of soda
straws at flies and mosquitoes.
An inexpensive home
octoscope can be purchased through www.allheart.com. I'm
currently trying to find a more accurate link directly to their
inexpensive octoscopes, but for now, you can just go there and use
their search function.
your ears, you can also try
ear candles - Not for use for
people with ear tubes.
PA-C, PhD, is a primary care physician assistant with more than
30 years of clinical experience in adult and pediatric
Originally published May 6,
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