Ear cleaning is procedure performed for cleaning the dirt that has accumulated in the ear canal and cause hearing loss. In addition to earwax, foreign bodies, such as cotton or cotton balls insect, can also block the ear canal, thus requiring ear cleaning.
Under normal conditions, earwax which is shaped like a thick fluid serves as part of the protection of the ear canal from the entry of foreign objects. However, the dirt can also accumulate and harden so that it interferes with hearing.
Ear cleaning can be done by a doctor, or done yourself at home. However, to minimize the risk of side effects due to ear cleaning, it is advisable to have an ear cleaning done by a doctor.
Ear Cleaning Indications
Ear cleaning can be requested by the patient if deemed necessary. However, ear cleaning will be recommended by a doctor, if earwax causes conditions, such as:
- Otitis externa.
- It is difficult for doctors to examine parts of the ear, such as the eardrum.
- Blocking the ear canal.
- Causes complaints in the form of hearing loss, ringing in the ears, as well as pain, discomfort, or itching in the ears.
Ear cleaning will also be done to remove foreign objects that enter the ear.
Ear Cleaning Warning
Some conditions that cause a person to be careful before undergoing ear cleaning, include:
- Have a history of eardrum damage.
- Experiencing pain during previous ear cleanings.
- There is fluid coming out of the ear.
- Have had a surgical procedure on the middle ear.
Especially for children who will undergo ear cleaning, parents should as much as possible ask their children to follow the doctor's directions, so that complications do not arise. If the child or patient has difficulty following the doctor's directions when cleaning the ear, this procedure should not be carried out. Ear cleaning should also be done with caution in patients who have had a mastoidectomy or surgery on the bone around the ear.
Ear Cleaning Preparation
Ear cleanings can be performed by a doctor, and generally by an ENT doctor. The doctor will check if the patient has ear pain and hearing loss, and check for fluid coming out of the ear. The doctor will also ask if the symptoms occur continuously or only occasionally. After the examination is complete, the doctor will then visually examine the condition of the ear canal with the help of an instrument called an otoscope, and determine whether ear cleaning is necessary.
Ear Cleaning Procedure
The patient will first be positioned sitting or half lying down. One of the common ear cleaning techniques is mechanical. Through this technique, a special, spoon-shaped swab made of metal is used to remove wax and foreign objects from the ear. The doctor will first insert a small swab, and remove the stool by means of a hook. If the stool to be removed is hard enough and accumulates, the doctor will use a larger and stronger swab.
During this mechanical ear cleaning procedure, the doctor will occasionally visually inspect the condition of the ear canal for any remaining wax. If the wax or foreign object that is to be removed is very hard, and causes pain or discomfort to the patient during cleaning, the doctor may delay the ear cleaning for another 2 weeks. During this time of delay, the doctor may give the patient ear drops for daily use to help soften the accumulated earwax.
Another ear cleaning technique is the irrigation method. After the patient is positioned properly, the doctor will insert a special fluid into the ear using an injection tube. This fluid will be left in the ear for a few minutes. If all the wax is felt to have been released from the ear canal, the doctor will then rinse with water or a saline solution to remove the wax from inside the ear. To ensure that there is no more wax and the eardrum is not damaged, the doctor will re-examine the condition of the patient's ear visually using an otoscope. The remaining fluid that seeps from the ear will then be cleaned and dried using a cloth or tissue.
After Ear Cleaning and Possible Risks
Patients who have undergone ear cleaning can immediately go home on the same day if allowed by the doctor. Ear cleaning is a safe medical procedure to undergo. However, the risk of side effects remains. Among others are:
- Pain and discomfort in the ear.
- Ears ringing.
- Injury to the ear due to friction scraper.
These side effects are usually only temporary and will go away on their own. In rare cases, patients may experience a ruptured eardrum after undergoing an ear cleaning procedure.