Dr. Khaznadar, a pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, explains how ear wax can cause kids discomfort.
Ear wax is normal, and can help to protect your ears from infection. But, problems can occur when wax accumulates in the ear. The cause isn’t always clear, but can be because a child’s ear canal could be too small or improper ear cleaning using cotton swabs (which push the wax further in and causes build up).
Bottom line – if you have any concerns about your child’s ears, talk to your pediatrician. They may recommend that you see an ENT doctor, who specializes in ear, nose, and throat problems.
After reading all the articles, Divine Caroline decided that cleaning her ears with cotton swabs just wouldn’t cut it – there were too many risks to her health and hearing. “In fact,” she says, “using cotton swabs not only makes our ears less clean—it also puts us at risk for infection and even deafness.”
So what does she recommend? Gently wiping the outside of your ear with a washcloth soaked in warm water, and don’t stick cotton swabs in your ears. “If you do feel that there’s wax buildup in your ears—common symptoms are earaches, hearing loss, itchiness, unusual smells or discharges, and a feeling of being plugged up—make a doctor’s appointment. They use special instruments to clear blockages without endangering the ear, so put down the cotton swabs and let someone else do the dirty work for you.”
By now, we all know that you should not use cotton swabs to clean ear wax out of your ears. So what should you use them for?
Wonder How To shares some common and creative uses for cotton swabs.
Cotton swabs can be used for everything from an arts & crafts project to starting a fire. They can be used for makeup on the go, and to get the last bit of makeup or lipstick from the bottom of the bottle. You can also use them for aromatherapy on the go.
According to the NPR article “The Joy of Ear-Cleaning”, some 12 million people a year seek medical treatment for impacted earwax. In 2008, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation released guidelines on the management of earwax impaction.
According to the guidelines, patients and doctors should keep in mind that earwax is a beneficial, self-cleaning agent with protective properties. It should only be removed when it builds up to a point where it causes symptoms such as pain or hearing loss.
And on the subject of cotton swabs:
“Dr. FITZGERALD: Because they create no end of havoc and trouble by pushing wax in further. They also scratch the skin of the ear canal and lead to infections. And the real horror stories are that someone’s cleaning their ear out with a [cotton swab], and someone happens to hit their elbow, and that [a cotton swab] goes through the ear drum into the middle ear. And so, if you want to know horror stories about [cotton swabs], talk to the ear doctors, because we’ve seen them all.”
Reaching Utopia’s Dave describes how growing up, he thought that the only use for cotton swabs was to clear ear wax out of his ears. Now that he knows doctors recommend never using cotton swabs in this manner, he has to find a new way to clear the cerumen, or ear wax, out of his ears.
There are many different solutions that claim to remove ear wax, such as using a liquid solution to soften the wax. In the end, if you have any doubts about a treatment, or any problems with your ears, he recommends that you see a doctor. As he reminds us, the last thing you want to do is permanently damage your ears, or hearing!
Earwax, medically known as cerumen, is not just there to annoy you. It has protective & antibacterial properties in the external ear canal (the part that connects the visible ear to the invisible ear drum). The body has a natural system to move wax out of the ear canal on its own, mainly by chewing, talking and swallowing.
If you do want to help your body in the removal of earwax, you have to remember the first rule – Cotton swabs may press the wax further IN to your ear, thus defeating the purpose.
He also mentions that if you are experiencing an ear ache, hearing loss, the feeling of a plugged ear, itching, odors, or a ringing in your ear, you may need to see a specialist called an ENT. An ENT is a doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat.
ABC station, WVEC 13 of Virginia, reviewed the Wax Vac ear cleaner for their “Does it Work” segment with the help of Norfolk resident, Joseph Floyd III who says “he’s always trying to clean out his ears.”
WVEC reports that “Mr. Floyd was impressed. He had seen the commercial for Wax Vac and wondered if it could be as good as it sounded. He found it to be easy to use and he really felt like it did a great job cleaning his ear. He said when he turned the WaxVac on it felt a little like a massage in his ear. But his favorite thing about the WaxVac was that he felt like, for him, it was a safer way to clean his ear than using a cotton swab. With a cotton swab he said he always worried he was going to put it in too far and damage his eardrum. He said with the Wax Vac he didn’t have that concern.”
Jen, of Shopper Tested, calls herself “an ear cleaning addict.” She says she’s always been a bit obsessed with personal grooming and hated the wet sensation in her ears following a shower. Her go-to solution were Q-tips until their use led to a trip to the doctor. Jen says:
“I persisted in my unhealthy habit until one day I felt a strange, recurrent sensation: a combination of vertigo and nausea. A quick medical consultation led to a diagnosis of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), which the doctor attributed to trauma from using cotton swabs. Luckily, the problem went away on its own, but the experience was an eye-opener.”
Jen goes on to say that she saw the Wax Vac commercial around that time. “I couldn’t believe my good luck” Jen begins. “I didn’t have to stop cleaning my ears; I could just switch to a safer, easier, and more effective method.” Jen continues by informing her readers about her experiences with the Wax Vac ear cleaner. “I can’t believe the product’s user-friendliness. I just attach one of the color-coded silicone tips, insert it into my ear, and switch it on. The controlled suction gently pulls all the wax, water, and dirt particles out of my ear and collects it in the device’s chamber. After finishing, I just unscrew the collection chamber and empty it out.”
Doctors everywhere warn against using cotton swabs. The secret of the Wax Vac ear cleaner is its’ gentle and effective suction. The Wax Vax ear cleaner gently draws moisture and dirt particles out of the ear. To review how the Wax Vac works, please see the information video below:
MammaBreak is a blog created by two mothers, Jo and Steph, who seek to give ” every mama a break, every day.” They decided to the review the Wax Vac in hopes that it could help to give their readers a “break” when taking care of their children’s ears.
“One of my most hated tasks is cleaning my children’s ears” begins their review. “They get extremely dirty! I use wax drops, but it does not seem to effectively get rid of all of the wax.”
The reviewer goes on to explain her experiences using the Wax Vac. “We love the Wax Vac,” she states. “It has really changed the way we clean ears in our house. I was a little nervous to use it, but my son (the primary person we use it on) does not mind it at all, and would tell us for certain if it hurt him…. Hooray for clean ears!”