An old saying tells us not to stick anything in our ears smaller than our elbow. Audiologists have told their patients this for years. It seems like common sense, but a new study has confirmed that there is a direct association between those who ignore that advice and use cotton swabs to clean their ears and ruptured ear drums.
A ruptured eardrum, also known as tympanic membrane perforations (TMP), is a tear in the tympanic membrane, which separates the outer ear from the inner ear. A ruptured eardrum may be accompanied by sharp ear pain, an earache, ear drainage, ear ringing or buzzing, dizziness or hearing loss. In severe cases, vertigo and facial paralysis can occur.
A ruptured eardrum can lead to discomfort, and even though the study showed that most cases healed on their own within two months, surgery can in some cases be required.
Alternative ways to clean your ears
As for alternative ways to clean your ears, study co-author Dr. Michael Seidman, director of the division of otologic and neurotologic surgery at Henry Ford Hospital, recommends these methods:
- Mix equal amounts of cool peroxide and hot tap water. Allow the mixture to reach body temperature and then gently irrigate the ear. No more than twice a month.
- Mix one part plain vinegar and one part water and use four or five drops once a week.
- Try an over-the-counter ear wax removal product and follow the directions carefully.
- Make an appointment with a doctor to have ear wax removed. Those in Utah County can call 801-770-0801 to schedule a wax-removal appointment. You can also go to our website atwww.utahhearingaids.com for more information on the ear.
The study was carried out by researchers from Henry Ford Hospital. In the study, the researchers examined the medical records of 1,540 patients who suffered from ruptured eardrums between 2001 and 2010.