Natural self-cleaning of the ears: cotton swabs, a danger to the eardrum
Popularly, the cotton swab becomes an ear stick. However, doctors warn against using the small, pointed hygiene products to clean the ears.
The ear cleans itself
The human body is usually able to clean the ears itself. Aids such as cotton swabs, drops or sprays are therefore unnecessary. Joachim Wichmann, Vice President of the German Professional Association of Otorhinolaryngologists, has now warned that the sticks are even harmful if used incorrectly. If the ear wax in the ear canal becomes uncomfortable, those affected should go to the ear, nose and throat doctor for a professional cleaning. Rinsing with body-warm water by the attending doctor is often sufficient. However, if you poke around with your own hands with a cotton swab in your ear, you only push the unwanted secretion deeper into the ear canal, as it tapers inwards. Wichmann explains: “Try cleaning a funnel with a cotton swab. You only block it. ”However, if the ear canal becomes blocked with ear wax, the only way to help is to go to the ENT doctor. In the worst case, you can even pierce the eardrum with a cotton swab. On the one hand, this is very painful and, on the other hand, a necessary operation is imminent if the hole does not re-grow on its own.
Ear wax is used for self-cleaning ear wax is a body's own secretion that is used for self-cleaning of the ears. Ear wax is yellowish-brown in color and has a bitter taste and is formed in specialized sebaceous glands in the external auditory canal. It is composed of sweat gland secretions, hairs, sebum, dander and contaminants. The secretion is transported to the outside of the ear by fine hairs in the ear canal. This can be easily and safely cleaned with lukewarm water and a washcloth. Cleaning shouldn't go deeper.
Professional ear cleaning There are also people who do not clean their ears by themselves. This is the case, for example, with particularly bent ear canals or with swimmers and sometimes with older people. Those affected should regularly undergo professional ear cleaning. Wichmann said that some people use strange cleaning methods. Some would drill around with their paper clips unfolded in the ear canal, which of course is an absolute taboo. Wichmann also strongly advises against an invention popular in Japan: an endoscope for ears. The user should insert a pointed needle into his ear canal with one hand. There is a tiny camera in this needle and a small monitor can be held with the other hand, which shows exactly what it looks like in the ear. This should reduce the risk of injuring the eardrum. Ear candles, the so-called Hopi candles, have also become popular as a means of cleaning the ear canal in recent years. Ear candle therapy is now part of the portfolio of many practices in naturopathy, but is mainly used for relaxation. It is said to provide relief for various complaints. However, there are no clinical studies on how candle therapy works. (sb)