1. What is ear wax?
It is a normal secretion produced in every ear canal. It helps in:
a) Avoiding fungal infection in ears.
b) Avoiding foreign bodies entering inside.
c) Keeping ear functions intact.
We should not clean ears with ear buds as it may cause more damage than benefit. Normally everyone will have ear wax and some people may have excess build-up of wax and others nominal.
2. What can I do if ear wax builds up and causes ear pain and decreased hearing?
Some people have excess build-up of wax, some use ear buds and push wax deeper into the ear canal.
To clean ears:
a) Do not try anything at home.
b) Use ear softening drops to make wax soft.
c) Meet nearest ENT Specialist and get it removed.
3. How often should I clean my ears?
a) Ears have a self-cleaning mechanism.
b) We don't have to clean with ear buds.
c) Some people may have excessive wax produced, they need to meet an ENT Specialist every 6 months to avoid complications.
4. Why should we not use ear buds?
a) We have small hairs in the ear which help in cleaning our ears.
b) Ears buds will damage these hairs and lead to excessive accumulation of wax.
c) Buds will push wax deeper towards the ear drum causing problems.
5. Does wax cause problem in children too?
a) Yes, wax build up may happen in any age group.
b) They need to visit a nearest ENT specialist for regular checkups.
"TO HEAR PROPERLY DO NOT USE EAR BUDS"
Article by Dr. Niraj Joshi, MBBS, MD, (PHY), DLO, FAGE, PHD
Consultant ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai