Video transcription

Hi I'm Dr. David Hill and today we're going to be talking about how to get rid of ear wax drainage. So I have a model of an ear and I want to talk about ear wax for a second. Ear wax which we in medicine cal cerumen is actually a very protective substance. It is a really neat secretion that is created by the cells right here along the outer part of the external auditory canal. Ear wax protects the inside of the ear from damage in a number of ways. It forms a physical barrier against dirt and insects and carries that out of the ear gradually. It also forms a chemical barrier against bacteria and other infectious agents because it is a little on the acidic side. It tends to kill things that want to infect this delicate tissue inside the ear. Some people have flaky wax, some people have wet wax, some people have goopy wax, that's genetic. They almost certainly inherited their ear wax type from their mother or from their father. If people have real wet runny wax may notice some wax coming out. The reason for this is something neat that is special to the ear canal. The skin here actually slowly grows outward and almost forms a little conveyor belt that carries wax out of the ear. When you are seeing this the only thing you need to do is use a warm wash cloth during the shower or the bath, clean the external part of the ear and don't worry about a thing. The biggest mistake you can make is to introduce a Q-tip or cotton swab into the ear canal. There is a little narrowing or turn here that the ear canal makes about half way down and what you are likely to do is to impact wax in that narrowing and actually cause a blockage. It is also very easy to damage this delicate tender skin inside the ear canal. This stuff is not really made to contact the outside world and when you go digging around in there it is easy to cause damage or infection. Now if you have thick discharge that doesn't look orange or yellow like ear wax maybe it is creamy colored or yellow or smells foul that is almost certainly pus. That would suggest that there is an infection of the middle ear or the outer ear or that there is something stuck in there that needs to come out and in all those cases you are going to want a doctor to look in that ear and see what's there. Without a professional grade otoscope and years of training it is really hard to know what's going on even sometimes with those things so remember if you've got wax drainage that is just coming out of the ear, don't sweat it wash it, it's supposed to be there wash it out with a cloth and if you have got something that doesn't seem like wax you are going to want a doctor's help in figuring out what's going on. Talking about cleaning out ear wax drainage I am Dr. David Hill.