Remember the time when your mum pestered you about washing your hands before meals thoroughly.

Well, she did that for a reason.

Personal hygiene is extremely essential for a good mind, body and soul. These basic habits that are taught to us as tiny humans shape us as to who and how we turn out as adults. Let’s look at one of the essential part of the body that often gets ignored. Your ears.

Not many people realise this, but caring for your ears is also a part of personal hygiene. Your ear consists of three parts the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Your outer ear needs to be looked after and not the other two parts as they are internal. The visible part of your outer ear is known as pinna and that is the entrance to the ear canal that leads to the ear drum.

Ear wax and its importance

Ear wax is present in all of us and its main job is to be a protective barrier between the inner, middle ear and external sounds. Wax gets accumulated periodically in the outer ear. This happens for many reasons. Some of us have an anatomical narrowing of the ear that stops the wax from coming out naturally. Prolonged usage of hearing aids, head phones or ear phones may interfere with the excretion of wax. Some people may have more wax accumulation than others. Wax build-up can cause some serious concerns which may affect a person’s ability to hear. He or she may have difficulty in hearing that can get extremely uncomfortable in due course. It also causes vertigo (dizziness) and in extreme cases it may also result in ringing of the ears, also known as tinnitus.

Many ENT’s these days do not recommend the use of any equipment along with trying to clean or remove wax from the inside ear. One needs to clean the pinna with soap and water, however, any attempt to go deeper than this can cause mild discomfort. Using cotton buds which were once recommended by the previous generations is now considered a dangerous practice and can cause irreparable damage to the inner ear nerves along with pushing the wax deeper which may lead to infections and blockages.

Be it home, work or school you need to take care of your ears. In case you like listening to music, avoid high volume levels when using stereos and home theatre systems. Don’t forget to put on your ear plugs at nightclubs, rock concerts, motor sporting events and even when you go for a swim.

It is good practice to include examination and cleaning of your ears in your daily cleansing routine. You need to get your ears checked regularly by your general practitioner and if need be go see an ENT who can give you a clearer diagnosis about the condition of your ears. Personal hygiene is an essential component of healthy living and if you have neglected it so far it’s never too late to start now.

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