Prevention is better than cure

Lend an Ear

We tend to ignore a lot of things when it comes to personal health and care which eventually leads to serious problems.

And one area which we actually ignore all the time is the ear. We hardly ever hear of anyone going to an ENT specialist, except in extreme cases, for a regular check-up of ears. The same is true of how casually we treat instances of ear ache, the quick and easy method of dealing with the problem being a drop of warm mustard oil or some over-the-counter eardrops. But is that enough? Or safe?

Most often than not people are seen using car keys, bobby pins or matchsticks to scratch, evn clean their ears, without a thought that these objects may injure their ear canal or eardrums. Wiping the ear with a clean cloth or a tissue is a better and advisable option, but we tend to not do so. 

Dr Rajesh Bhardwaj, ENT specialist at Columbia Asia Hospital, says, “The best care for ears is to leave them as they are. Do not use cotton buds to clean them. It will only cause problems in the long run. One should also not put oil. It can lead to infection. And if ears are blocked after a swim, one should go to a specialist – some cleaning may be required. Treat a cold early, a prolonged cold can cause ear blockage. Also avoid flying with a bad cold or sinus. This can further spread infection to the ears.”

Dr Amitabh Malik, senior ENT consultant, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon, advises regular ear check-ups. “One should get their ears checked periodically. While swimming one should always wear earplugs. And if there is any kind of irritation, consult the doctor as soon as possible. Earbuds and cotton plugs are a strict no-no. They damage the lining of the ear canal.”

“While travelling by air people face a very common problem – ear blockage. It is due to the blockage of the mutation catarrh tube. For this one can have toffees or chewing gums. Do not chew the toffee, just keep it in your mouth. This helps proper movements of veins and muscles and eventually opens the ear block.

 Another harmful thing that people do is to put oil. This can cause infection. Rather just use vaseline on the outer part of the ear if you feel the area has become dry. In case of itching, use the tip of the little finger gently rather putting any foreign object inside the ear,” cautions Dr Amitabh.

Talking about the blockage of mutation catarrh tube and how bad it can be if tampered with fingers, Moumita Das, a freelance photographer, said, “Last month I faced this issue which was really horrifying for me.

I have this problem when I travel by plane and this time too when the ear got blocked, I pulled the ear lobe a few times. And the result was that I could not hear from that ear for a whole month.Unfortunately, I ignored it initially, but, now after medication things are fine.”

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