Next time you are tempted to poke inside your ear with a cotton bud or bird feather, bear in mind that, each year, more than 7,000 people attend hospital with injuries caused by these innocuous-looking implements. Using cotton buds in your ears leads to Hearing loss.
Recent research suggest that 38 per cent of adults use cotton buds to clean their ears.
And most of them know that it is potentially dangerous.
While getting it stucked is less a problem, regular use can lead to skin irritation, infection and permanent hearing loss.
“In most circumstances, wax is actually beneficial to the ear,” says Dr Princewill, a consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon based in Portharcourt, Rivers State.
“It causes foreign bodies to adhere to it, preventing them from going further into the ear, and it has anti-bacterial properties.
Removing it is like taking the wax off the surface of polished wooden furniture.
It makes the delicate underlying skin of the ear more susceptible to infection.”
Why The Wax
Wax consists of a mixture of exfoliated skin and secretions and is produced in the outer third of the ear canal.
Excessive ear wax tends to run in families. It is best treated by having the ears syringed with warm water under medical supervision.
Removing wax with a bud can leave the skin of the ear feeling irritated.
This leads people to twiddle about even more, so they get into a vicious cycle.
Even the most experienced cotton bud user will tend to push significant quantities of wax further in as well as removing some.
They ram the bud inside the ear, pushing it down parts of the ear where it should not be, and can then affect hearing.
If the bud is inserted too far, there is a risk of injuring the eardrum.
Causing sudden pain, bleeding and temporary hearing loss. In most cases, the injury heals itself.
Should the bud damage the ossicles – the tiny bones deep inside the ear – dizziness and permanent hearing loss can result.
Most people have no need to clean out their ears, however therapeutic the experience.
So before you tickle your ear, think about the risk involved..
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