Earwax, which is also called cerumen, fulfills important functions in the ear. It is a bitter, yellowish, greasy secretion of the external auditory canal. The earwax glands produce this.
It is called Glandulae ceruminosae in the medical jargon . It contains mainly fats, cholesterol and cholesterol esters but also important enzymes that give the ear wax, inter alia, an antibacterial component. It serves the auditory canal as protection against foreign bodies and insects and prevents their penetration. It also removes dust, foreign materials, dirt, bacteria, fungus and dead skin cells from the ear canal. Frequent washing or swimming can damage this natural barrier and cause severe earache.
The ears have their own self-cleaning mechanisms, which should be supported at best.
Fine hairs in the ear move foreign bodies, dirt particles, dead skin cells and excess earwax away from the ear canal in the direction of the auricle.
It is best to gently remove this excess "waste" from the pinna with a warm damp cloth. You should not penetrate it into the ear canal. You can do without soap.
When showering, you can rinse the ears carefully with lukewarm water and then dry. Again, you should make sure that no soap or shampoo gets into the ears. This can cause irritation. If the ears are very dry or itchy, a few drops of baby oil can help. Also, the skin behind the ears should be cleaned, as it is often forgotten.
Cotton buds should be avoided when cleaning the ears. These push the earwax only ever further into the depth of the ear, instead of removing it. This can lead to constipation. In the worst case, the eardrum can also be damaged if the penetration is too deep.
There are various aids that are suitable for cleaning the ears at home. These are presented in more detail below.
1. ear drops:
Ear drops are already available for little money (from 5 euros) over the counter in pharmacies. The exact application and dosage can be found in the package leaflet. Most of the time you drip a few drops into the affected ear and let it act for 15 to 30 minutes. The drops dissolve the cerumen. However, ear drops should not be used if there are pre-existing ear, hearing or inflammation conditions. Otherwise, they are usually very well tolerated. In order to make the application more pleasant, you should first warm the ear drops in your hand a little.
2. Ear sprays:
Ear sprays also soften the cerumen so that it can easily be rinsed with water after use. It is very easy to use because you can simply insert the spray head into the ear. It is very suitable for people with slightly viscous earwax, as it facilitates the natural cleansing of the ear.
3. Balloon spraying:
Balloon syringes are small aids for rinsing the ears. You can fill it with water and rinse the ear a little more precise.
Often there are a lot of electronic devices, pliers and other things on the Internet for cleaning the ears. Such technical aids should be kept away in their own interest. Mostly they are completely useless and show no effect. In the worst case, they even damage the ear.
There are also some home remedies that make it easier to cleanse the ears.
Steam baths or warming pads can soften the earwax and make it easier to wash it out.
Steam baths soften the earwax by their heat and thus facilitate the rinsing out of the ears. Add steaming water to a bowl and add soothing ingredients such as chamomile or essential oils to the water as needed. Then hold your ear over the steam bath for a few minutes and then rinse it off. Other warming pads, such as warm washcloths, have a similar effect.
In addition, high-quality oils such as almond oil can be used. The oils are carefully poured into the ear (a few drops are enough!) And rinse after 15 to 30 minutes exposure time with lukewarm water. They soften the cerumen like ear drops and sprays. Here, high-quality oils such as almond oil have a better effect than other oils.
For all home remedies, the last step is the same, namely the rinsing out of the ears. You should then dry your ears well.
But do not manipulate the ear canal with cotton swabs or similar!
It is also not recommended to lay hands on a deafness or a very tight graft. In these cases, a doctor should be consulted directly. Even with existing pre-existing diseases of the ears and inflammation of home remedies is to be foreseen.
Earwax is usually not harmful to the child either. For some children, however, very large amounts of earwax appear to be produced. Normally, however, this normalises in the course of puberty. Often, however, the temptation is to remove the substance considered to be filthy. However, this does not necessarily make sense, because earwax fulfills many natural functions.
It is therefore usually sufficient to clean the outer ear canal with a damp cloth and the outer ear canal. It should also not forget the back of the auricle. Dirt often accumulates here.
Nothing should be inserted into the auditory canal itself. Even soap or shampoo should not get into the ear canal. The use of cotton swabs is now discouraged. Especially in children, the sensitive eardrum and the ear canal can be damaged. In addition, earwax in the depth of the ear canal can usually not be sufficiently removed using cotton buds.
He is simply pushed back into the ear canal, where he can form a earwax. This hinders the child's hearing.
Since children's ears are usually still very sensitive, the use of adult-suitable products such as ear drops is also discouraged. Products specifically designed for children are also distributed, but their benefits or safety are still controversial.
It is often recommended to remove earwax from the ear using oil. This is dripped into the affected ear. Since earwax is a rather fat-soluble substance mixture, it should liquefy and be rinsed by the use of some water. It is usually advised to use high-quality oils such as almond or walnut oil. However, the more widespread olive oil probably works as well, although possibly less effectively. Frequently, other substances, such as citric acid are added. This should further increase the effectiveness of the cleaning.
However, rinsing with pure water may be superior to using olive oil. When liquids such as olive oil are added to the ear, attention should always be paid to the correct temperature. The organ of equilibrium and the associated nerves can be very sensitive to sudden cooling or warming. This can lead to a dizziness. Therefore, all fluids in the ear should always be heated to body temperature.
Special sprays for ear cleaning are sold by different suppliers. Sprayed into the ear, the earwax should be allowed to soften using the ear spray, which makes it easier to remove.
It should be noted that the sole use of ear sprays is therefore usually not sufficient. The soaked earwax must still be removed, for example, by rinsing out of the ear canal.
There are two main types of ear sprays. A large group uses salt as a basis. The second group, on the other hand, are ear oil sprays. These are similar in function to the use of ordinary oil for the cleaning of the ears, but are usually more comfortable to handle due to the spray bottle. In general, the use of ear spray should pay close attention to the instructions on the leaflet.
In addition, the removal of earwax is usually not necessarily useful. If there is no impairment of hearing, ear wax is not a hindrance, but even fulfills many important natural functions.
The use of ear spray is especially discouraged in a number of diseases of the ear.
Onions or garlic cloves contain many essential oils. These should also be able to dissolve earwax. In addition, onions appear to have an antibacterial effect, which could prevent inflammation.
It is recommended to leave the inner part of an onion in the ear overnight. Of course, the onion should not be pushed too deep into the ear canal. The following morning the earwax should be softened. This makes it easier to remove. However, there is little evidence of the efficacy or safety of the method. Proven and safe methods such as washing with water should therefore probably be preferred.
An earwax plug is compacted earwax, which has lodged in the external auditory canal and blocks it. This limits the hearing on the affected side. In addition, a massive earwax plug may cause further discomfort such as itching or bloating of the ear canal.
in Ohrenschmalzpfropf can be easily and safely removed by a doctor. The doctor recognizes the earplug by looking into the ear. For this he usually uses an ear tube or an otoscope. An otoscope is an illuminated ear funnel on a handle. The tip of the funnel is pushed into the ear canal, so that the examiner has a clear view of the ear. Special instruments are available to the doctor to help him remove the earwax plug. However, a visit to a doctor does not necessarily have to be necessary. Often already enough to wash out the affected ear by water.
Various products, such as special ear drops can help here. The use of cotton swabs is not recommended. Often, they even exacerbate the situation by pushing earwax back into the ear canal and further stabilizing the plug.
GPs or specialized ENT specialists can remove earwax using a variety of techniques. Based on a previous examination, the doctor suggests the most appropriate treatment.
As a rule, the earwax can be rinsed with water. Earwax is water soluble. Alternatively, a salt solution or other cerumenolytisches (ie earworm-dissolving) agent can be applied. These treatments may require an exposure time of 15 to 30 minutes in advance.
For stubborn linings, immunodeficiency, eardrum perforation or even in patients with a very narrow auditory canal it may be necessary to remove the earwax with small instruments. The doctor can aspirate this or remove it with a small check mark.
These treatments are usually not painful, but they are perceived by patients as having different discomfort.
An earwax graft, or cerumen obturans / ceruminal graft, leads to a complete closure of the external auditory canal.
There are several causes that can lead to the formation of such. On the one hand, an overproduction of earwax can be the cause.
Also through false ear hygiene, such a graft can occur, for example, if you clean your ears improperly with cotton swabs.
A naturally very narrow auditory canal can also be another factor. As a result, the outflow of secretions is disturbed and it comes to blockages.
Hearing aids and in-ear headphones can hinder the proper cleaning of the ear and thus lead to a earwax.
Also, you should pay attention to frequent use of hair spray, the ears zuhalten, since the hair spray can lead to sticking.
A Ceruminalpfropf makes itself felt by a sudden deafness. This usually occurs only on one side. A feeling of pressure and a dull, subdued sensation on the affected ear are also signs of this. Here, a doctor should be consulted, who professionally removes the earwax.