Monday January 27 2014

How well do you clean your ears?

By Chrsitine Katende

It is common to find people trying to remove wax from their ears as a way of keeping it clean. What many do not know is that wax plays an important role in the ears. This substance is a mixture of dirt, dead skin cells and mucus. It traps dirt and keeps it from entering the inner ear.

When wax becomes hard, it can cause pain in the ears. When the wax is painful or there is an abundance of it, it may be necessary to remove it. Otherwise, a simple cleaning of the outer ear is sufficient and recommended for general hygiene.

Dr Joseph Gyagenda Ogavu, a general practitioner with Nsambya Hospital says cleaning the ears with instruments such as pen lids, or folded paper is dangerous as it may end up injuring a person’s inner ear and cause bleeding.

“Many people use different things including ear pads which are not medically recommended. Pen lids and other items may damage the ear while the cotton rolled on the pad might pluck off in the process and get stuck inside the ear hence blocking it and causing infections,” says Dr Ogavu.

He adds that cleaning the ears with ear pads only piles or compacts the wax, which ends up blocking the ear. He recommends the use of either a clean handkerchief or towel to clean the ears. This can be done after every bath.
“Only clean where the finger can reach, do not go deep,” he cautions.