Ear question


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Gifted
April 25, 2005, 10:58 PM
This has bugged me a bit, figured I'd get a thread and work it all out. Didn't find anything searching, so this'll be a first, I suppose. Anyway, this is gun related, because we all (hopefully) wear hearing protection when shooting, and a good portion of that protection is plugs of various types.

Now, this is where I've gotten a bit confused. It's recommended that you clean your ears, to prevent a build up of ear wax that can affect your hearing. But I've also heard(both here on THR) that you shouldn't use Q-tips, as they tend to push the wax farther back, packing it up and making the problem worse.

My mom used Q-tips and the occasional bobby pin to clean ears when we were younger. She also used a flashlight, and watched what she was doing. I don't think it works to ask your shooting buddy, "Hey, can you clean out my ears, and I"ll clean out yours?" :scrutiny: Just doesn't work. I also remember getting clogged real bad, and the doctor got out this machine that used water to clean the stuff out. Again, not practical for personal use.

So, to all those that have knowledge of this sort of thing, how the heck do I clean out my ears? :confused: I wear plugs on a regular basis, since I work with jets, so I'm probably shoving the stuff in more often than alot of people here do.

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JBP
April 26, 2005, 12:24 AM
I use a solution of hydrogin peroxide and warm water. When it gets real bad (I have a tendancy to get a kot of wax buildup since I wear hearing aids in both ears) I go to a ENT to get them cleaned out. See this link (http://www.answers.com/topic/earwax-1) for some more information.

Guy B. Meredith
April 26, 2005, 12:49 AM
Check with your doctor; anything else is playing roulette with a delicate part of your anatomy.

For my part, the wax builds a plug and then builds inward. I have had three (VERY painfull) eardrum ruptures due to this.

I use a bulb type 'syringe' used in cleaning infant nasal passages. Warm water with some peroxide. The bulb provides enough pressure to dislodge wax when applied to the edge of the wax but, hopefully, not enough to do damage.

fredcwdoc
April 26, 2005, 01:23 AM
My ENT told me you should never stick anything smaller than your thumb in your ear! My wife ruptured an ear drum with a Q-tip so you need to be cautious with them. If you have a wax problem there are a lot of OTC items out there and a doctor can clean them out if need be. You are only issued one set of ears so take good care of them.

Chawbaccer
April 26, 2005, 07:16 AM
Check your drug store. Mureen, the eye drop people used to make a kit for cleaning ears, it probably is still available.

wiski
April 26, 2005, 11:53 AM
I tell both my girls (ages 4 & 6) that the ONLY thing they can put in their ears is their elbows!

No help, I know... :rolleyes:

Rickstir
April 26, 2005, 12:53 PM
What?

Standing Wolf
April 26, 2005, 01:19 PM
You just have to be careful with Q-Tips.

I normally wear both plugs and muffs at shooting ranges, and have noticed that after removing the plugs, the wax in my ears has softened and loosened. A nickel's worth of effort with Q-Tips takes care of the excess wax.

Larry Ashcraft
April 26, 2005, 01:40 PM
There's a product named Nurturell my doctor told me about. It's an oil. You put a couple drops in each ear and it will soften the wax in a few minutes.

If there is a real build up, you can flush it out with one of those little rubber syringes (quite an experience really).

Jim Watson
April 26, 2005, 01:44 PM
I occasionally go around with the Murine E.A.R. drops and a bulb syringe per label instructions. The drops contain carbamate peroxide and the sound effects as the peroxide evolves oxygen right in your ears are amazing.

41mag
April 26, 2005, 01:49 PM
I guess I've just been lucky.Mom & Gma used bobby pins on me as a little kid.I use either a Q-tip or an ignition key.I haven't hurt myself yet.

What?Speak up sonny!Eh? ;)

Psssniper
April 26, 2005, 03:44 PM
I do sound for bands and stuff so I need my ears, I also love to shoot. Both are very high risk hobbies for hearing survival.
My cleaning routine:
Warm up pure mineral oil, using squeeze bulb, put some in ear as you lay on your side. Watch tv for a bit (closed captioned for the hearing impaired :) ) Using squeeze bulb, flush ear with very warm water. Do this a couple times using the oil, then later on, like the next day, do the same with hydrogen peroxide. You shouldn't try to do it all in one session. When they clear you're gonna know it cause you'll hear the grass rustle and bees wings flutter, trips me out every time. I get sonically freaked out for a day or two.

TimH
April 26, 2005, 04:30 PM
I never tried any of these home remedies. I remember once the Doctor using one of those big stainless steel syringes to squirt a solution in my ear to get the wax out. You should have seen the look on his face when he flushed out some aluminum chips ( I work in a machine shop ) :what:

Templehall
April 26, 2005, 04:59 PM
I agree ... nothing smaller than your elbow. Seriously, first try the Murine system, with gentle flushing from a bulb syringe. An alternative product is debrox. I do not recommend full strength hydrogen peroxide, or contact abrasives (Q-tips).
It seems odd to consider Q-tips abrasive, but to the very delicate skin of the ear canal they are. Believe it or not, removing too much wax is a bad thing, as it leaves the canal unprotected from moisture and susceptible to swimmer's ear (infection of the canal; even without swimming). Using q-tips in your ear is like washing and waxing your vintage Harley Knucklehead and then using a rough cloth to rub that wax completely off.
If the above methods don't work I use the big metal syringe TimH mentioned. If my patient has previously used the above methods, my job is much easier. Again, Q-tips are great (for gun cleaning), but bad for ear canals.

Gabby Hayes
April 26, 2005, 04:59 PM
My MD recommended a product called Debrox (carbamide peroxide) sold at the local Walgreens. Couple drops in each ear twice a day for a few days cleans everything right up. My main problem is that when I put it in one ear, it tends to run straight through and out the other. :eek:

brickeyee
April 26, 2005, 05:04 PM
Put an earplug in the off ear. :)

thorn726
April 26, 2005, 08:19 PM
i post this for everyone , i sent a pm also.
My mom used Q-tips and the occasional bobby pin to clean ears when we were younger. She also used a flashlight, and watched what she was doing. I don't think it works to ask your shooting buddy, "Hey, can you clean out my ears, and I"ll clean out yours?" Just doesn't work. I also remember getting clogged real bad, and the doctor got out this machine that used water to clean the stuff out. Again, not practical for personal use.

my mom was a nurse , did the same thing= my Ex GF is an audiologist, horrifed to hear about this. it must be done VERY carefully. you can buy ear cleaning stuff cheap if you get a lot of wax, much safer.

ps- custom earplugs!! sort of my mission here, people should get them and use them, they REASLLY protect you. anywhre that sells hearing aids can do them for you, they rule!

MoeMentum
April 26, 2005, 08:56 PM
My doctor recommends hydrogen peroxide , works great too !

MillCreek
April 26, 2005, 09:37 PM
In the old days, physicians used a WaterPik filled with warm water and on the lowest setting to irrigate the ear canal and remove wax. Often, they would instill warm mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide into the ear canal first to soften the wax. Although there are still some people who use this method, many otolaryngologists feel there is too high a risk of rupturing the eardrum.

Please, please, please be very cautious about inserting anything into your ear canal, lest you rupture the eardrum. If you have lots of wax buildup, I strongly recommend consulting with your healthcare provider.

TimH
April 26, 2005, 11:14 PM
So exactly how far in is your ear drum anyway? I imagine its a bit different on everyone. What do they call those things the doctor looks inside your ear with? It would be kind of cool to have one if the don't cost too much.

Templehall
April 26, 2005, 11:52 PM
TimH,
It's called an otoscope. A package by Welch-Allyn that includes the power handle, rechargeable battery, otoscope and ophthalmoscope heads, and a stylish black vinyl case can cost several hundred $. They make a quality product.
There are other options. Like this: http://members.cox.net/otoscope3/order.html
I don't know anything about this product. It's just the first item up on a Google search for "otoscope".

To answer your question, yes, everyone's canal is a little different. Each person's canal not only has it's own size, but you also see variation in the angle of the canal, as well as how twisty it is. These factors and others such as the hair growing around the openning have an effect on how much wax accumulates.

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