Smoky Mountain Hearing Specialists October 2019

OCT 2019


Best Alternatives for Cotton Swabs THE DANGERS OF Q-TIPS

Tennessee is a hotbed for haunted areas, so, naturally, Halloween is pretty big here. Every year, I stock up on candy, and I’m completely out by the night’s end! While ghosts and goblins can spook kids during this time of year, do you know what’s most frightening for your hearing? Q-tips. Many feel that Q-tips can be useful because when they use them, they can see the amount of ear wax taken out. However, consistently using Q-tips can actually pack in ear wax and cause a blockage. The blockage can result in more difficulty hearing. To avoid the possible hearing issues Q-tips can cause, here are some alternative techniques to use if you’re experiencing a significant buildup of ear wax. Irrigation You can find irrigation kits over the counter at your local drug store, and they will usually contain saline solution, ear drops, and a syringe or a bulb-looking applicator. Warm up the ear drops in water to body temperature to avoid dizziness after application. Apply the ear drops first and let them sit in your ear for 15–30 seconds before using the warm water or saline solution. Fill the syringe with the warm water and squirt the water or saline solution into your ear canal. Tilt your ear down to let the contents drain out. Repeat this process two or three times for each ear. Cotton Ball If you’re a fan of using Q-tips, this is the next best thing. Soak a cotton ball with a few drops of water or saline solution. Drip a few droplets into your ear with your head tilted, so the opening of the ear is pointing up. Place the cotton ball “While ghosts and goblins can spook kids during this time of year, do you know what’s most frightening for your hearing? Q-tips.”

over the opening of the ear. The cotton will initially clean the area surrounding the opening and continue to expose the ear wax to the solution or water. Keep it in that position for one minute to allow the water or solution to flow through the ear

wax. Afterward, tilt your ear over to the other side to let the wax and fluid drain

out onto the cotton ball. You can use a syringe to flush the rest of the material out.

Besides rinsing your ears out daily in the shower, I recommend cleaning your ears once or twice a week with one of these techniques. After trying these techniques, if you don’t hear an immediate improvement, you should come into the clinic as soon as possible. We will check your ears and flush them out as best we can. However, if there is an excessive amount of blockage, we will recommend you to a primary care physician or to urgent care to get the wax removed. If you have any questions or concerns about the best practices to remove an excessive blockage from ear wax, never hesitate to reach out. Call us anytime at 423-307-8846 or visit our website at Have a happy Halloween, everyone! —Brett Parish


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