I think, in a world of mouths, I want to be an ear - Jens Lekman
Every now and then, doctors update their "best practice" guidelines based on new research and new problems that come up...
For the most part, the rules for ear doctors haven't changed much since the last ones came out in 2008. But the new guidelines explain how doctors should treat certain ear issues, and how to respond to stickier earwax problems. It also includes some helpful guidelines on how you, the patient, should take care of your ears.
One notable change, says Seth Schwartz, chair of the guideline update group, is that the "ear candling" is now called out specifically as something patients definitely should not do.
The alternative medicine practice of ear candling, which uses a hollow candle to (supposedly) pull earwax out of the ear, doesn't actually work—and it can damage your ear canal and eardrum.
The guidelines' overall message to patients is simple: STOP STICKING THINGS INTO YOUR FREAKING EARS. If this directive comes as a surprise to you, it's probably because your eardrums were already too damaged for you to hear your doctor's pleas.
And let's just make one more thing clear: earwax isn't dirty. It actually helps keep your ears clean by trapping dust and dirt. If left alone, new wax will usually push out old wax, and you won't have any problems. But sticking things like Q-tips, paper clips, hair pins, and other random crap into your ear usually just pushes earwax deeper inside, blocking off parts of the ear canal and potentially damaging your hearing machinery.
"When people stick Q-tips or other foreign objects into their ears, they can traumatize the skin, allowing bacteria to get in and cause painful infections," says Schwartz.
In general, he says, the best way to clean your ears is to just wipe off the outside after showering—when the hot water has loosened things up a bit.
Here is a complete list of things that you should not do to your ears, according to the guidelines. Don't:
1. Over-clean your ears. Excessive cleaning may irritate the ear canal, cause infection, and even increase the chances of severe earwax impaction.
2. Put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. Your mother was right! Cotton swabs, hair pins, car keys, toothpicks . . . these can all injure your ear. They can cause lacerations (cuts) in the ear canal, perforations (holes) in the eardrum, and/or dislocation of the hearing bones, leading to hearing loss, dizziness, ringing, and other symptoms of ear injury.
3. Use ear candles. There is no evidence that they remove impacted earwax, and candling can cause serious damage to the ear canal and eardrum.
4. Ignore your symptoms. Just because you shouldn't stick a Q-tip in your ear doesn't mean it's impossible for earwax to become a problem. Seek medical attention if you can't shake the feeling that you need to purge your ears.
5. Irrigate or try earwax-removing/softening drops if you have had ear surgery or a perforated eardrum, unless specifically cleared to do so by your otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat surgeon).
6. Forget to clean your hearing aids as the manufacturer and your hearing health professional recommend.
If you're experiencing ear pain, bleeding, ringing ears, or having problems hearing, these symptoms may be caused by earwax blocking your ear canal. Leave the Q-tips alone and go see a doctor.
Source: Sarah Fecht, For the love of God, please stop sticking things into your ear, Popular Science, January 3, 2017.
Though ear pain is often due to otitis media or externa, it is important to include other diagnoses, some of which could be life-threatening, “can’t miss” causes.
You drop a quarter in the deep end and swim down to get it. I know the first thing you are going to ask: Why do I have a quarter in the pool? Does it matter. What matters is that your ears are killing you. Boy, that hurts. Why do your ears hurt and what can you do about it?
Can you figure out why a middle aged man developed an earache and pupils of different sizes?
On Thursday we challenged Well readers to solve the mystery of a 39-year-old man with an earache and asymmetrical pupils. More than 200 of you wrote in with your thoughts on his diagnosis, but only a handful got the two part answer completely right.
The correct diagnosis is…
Horner’s syndrome caused by a dissection of the carotid artery.
For many patients, it can be difficult to alter existing travel plans due to illness, so it is important that we educate patients about what to do if they experience trauma to the ear and symptoms persist after flying.
If your child has an ear infection, your doctor may recommend delaying flying, if possible, until the infection is gone to avoid increased pain and possible rupture, or tear, of the eardrum. In kids who have had tubes inserted in the eardrums because of ear fluid problems, the artificial tubes will help the air pressure equalization happen more easily.
A common cause of clogged ears with inability to pop them easily is due to eustachian tube dysfunction. There are a number of ways to address this annoying problem, but one of the first steps to try is intranasal medications whether in nasal spray form or nasal drop form.
There are many reasons why a person’s ears might hurt when they swallow. The three most common causes of this pain are infections of the ear, nose, and throat.
Mastoiditis is not well-studied in adults so the exact incidence is unknown, however the most common isolates are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA. Because of this, vancomycin is the antibiotic of choice.
Doctors are updating the guidelines on how to mind your earwax. Spoiler alert: Q-tips and ear candling are still bad for you.
Hearing and balance are critical to how we conduct our daily lives. ENT specialists treat conditions such as ear infection, hearing loss, dizziness, ringing in the ears (called tinnitus), ear, face, or neck pain, and more.
Top 4 causes -Ear infection -Swimmer’s ear -Common cold without ear infection — sometimes a simple cold can cause congestion or pressure inside the ear, which can be painful -Referred pain from another source — sore throat or tooth pain can be perceived as ear pain.
Ear problems are often caused by an infection. However, other conditions may also cause ear pain or discomfort.
Pain in the ear can occur because of conditions within the ear, the ear canal, or affecting the visible portion of the ear (the pinna). Acute middle ear infection, medically called acute otitis media, is inflammation of the middle ear and is the most frequent diagnosis in sick children...
The following steps can help prevent earaches: -Avoid smoking near children. Second-hand smoke is a major cause of ear infections in children. -Prevent outer ear infections by not putting objects in the ear. -Dry the ears well after bathing or swimming. -Take steps to control allergies. Try to avoid allergy triggers. -Steroid nasal spray may help reduce ear infections. However, over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants do NOT prevent ear infections.
Earache is cited as the most common reason for a parent to call a doctor out of hours for their child. It will often be the result of an ear infection. Adults are less likely to experience earache and ear infections than children.
Otalgia is aching or pain in the ear and causes can be primary, relating to the ear itself, or referred from sources outside the ear.