Thursday, October 21, 2010
Can You Hear Me Now??
Have you noticed that you've got the tv or radio volume all the way up, but it still sounds muffled? Or are your friends and family getting annoyed that they need to repeat anything they say to you? Don't ignore this issue! It may be something as simple as a buildup of wax (cerumen is the medical word) in your ear.
What can you do about ear wax buildup yourself? Do NOT, repeat, DO NOT use Q-tips! All that q-tips manage to do is to pack the wax down harder against your eardrum. Additionally, while people do not intentionally shove the q-tip in too far, often they are startled by a kid, dog, or other distraction, and accidentally jab the q-tip in deep, often damaging their ear drum or canal. Please, save the q-tips for putting on makeup!
Instead, you MAY flush out your ear with water. Use a bulb syringe (pictured above with friendly witch) and luke-warm water. (If you make the water too hot or too cold, you will get very dizzy!) Lean over the sink, gently pulling your outer ear back and out, and insert the tip of the bulb syringe in your ear canal and squeeze the water. Repeat this up to a dozen times if necessary- you will see the wax pieces flush out into the sink (sorry, I know that sounds yucky.) Do not persist beyond roughly a dozen, though, or again- you can cause more irritation and feel off-balance.
When you are done, put a few drops of homemade ear solution- half alcohol/half vinegar- in your ear. This will dry out any remaining water (step away from those q=tips!) and also help reduce any fungal elements.
Can you hear me now? If not, schedule an appointment with your physician!
BOTTOM LINE: Ear wax is a common cause of muffled hearing- try flushing out your ears and stay AWAY from q-tips!