Ear & Balance

Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear!

February 1, 2020
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In my ENT practice, I do encounter many adult patients who have dug their ears with cotton buds and metal picks. However, this is the first time that I’ve seen an adult who stuck a “pen” in his ear in an attempt to clean it! The tip of the “pen” was dislodged and was stuck in his ear canal. Fortunately for him, after a quick removal of the foreign body in the clinic, there was no significant damage seen to his ear drum or ear canal. He did have a secondary infection in the ear canal as a result of not consulting a doctor till about 1 month after the incident!

 

 

 

Ear Canal Infection

After removal of the foreign body, infection of the ear canal and ear drum can be seen

 

 

The culprit – Tip of a “Pen”

 

 

As the old saying goes,  “do not put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear” – meaning never insert anything in your ear! (of course except for prescribed ear drops as directed by your doctor). The ear has a built in self-cleansing conveyer-belt mechanism that pushes dead skin, trapped dirt and earwax outward at a rate of 0.05mm/day (about the same growth rate of a nail!).  In addition, earwax in small amounts is actually protective of the ear canal! Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to taking care of your ear.

 

 

Cotton Buds / Swabs ( AKA Q-Tips )

 

Do: Use them only on the outer part of your ear, just outside the ear canal.

 

Don’t: Put them in your ear canal as you will end up pushing the earwax deeper and the self-cleansing  mechanism of your ear will fail. In some cases, you may even injure your ear canal, puncture your ear drum or have part of the broken Q-tip stuck in your ear canal!

 

 

Cotton Bud

Cotton bud is meant for cleaning the outer ear, just outside the ear canal

 

 

Guide to Earwax Removal

Cotton bud should NOT be inserted into the ear canal!

 

 

A cotton bud is too big to be inserted into the ear canal. It will end up pushing your earwax deeper

 

 

If not careful, cotton bud inserted too deep into the ear canal can puncture the ear drum, damaging the middle and inner ear

 

 

Wax Softener (e.g Olive oil, Mineral oil, Hydrogen Peroxide, etc … )

 

Do: Use them regularly if you have a tendency for earwax buildup

 

Don’t: Use them if you have an ear infection or a hole in your eardrum

 

 

Curettes, Ear picks and Lighted Probe

 

Do: Let a trained healthcare professional remove your earwax with these instruments as earwax removal is a delicate procedure

 

Don’t: Do it yourself or ask an untrained person to do it for you

 

 

Vacuum suction and Saline irrigation / Ear Syringing

 

Do: Let a trained healthcare professional remove your earwax with these instruments as earwax removal is a delicate procedure

 

Don’t: Use over the counter ear vacuums. Studies have shown that they are too weak to be effective. Patients with a hole in their eardrum should avoid any ear irrigation

 

 

Ear Candling

 

Don’t: Use a burning candle with a hollow centre to suction out earwax. In 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a health warning, against the use of ear candling. Studies have shown that it is ineffective and has a risk of skin and hair burns.

 

Ear Candling

 

 

 

When Should You See An ENT Specialist In Singapore?

  • Any Ear, Nose or Throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned of
  • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

Dr Gan Eng Cern

Dr Gan Eng Cern is a fellowship trained Consultant Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgeon. He completed his ENT training in Singapore and obtained his subspecialty training in Rhinology and Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery at the world renowned St Paul’s Sinus Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He was also a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. Dr Gan was an avid researcher with numerous publications in reputable international ENT journals. He was also an invited speaker and surgical dissection teacher in many ENT conferences and courses.

Awards

  • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist
    (Expat Living Singapore)
  • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
  • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
  • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
  • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College
    of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical
    paper)
  • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health,
    Singapore)
  • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award

Qualifications

  • MBBS - Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
  • MRCS (Edin) - Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • MMed (ORL) - Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
  • FAMS - Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

Why Choose Dr Gan Eng Cern

1

Reliable & Reputable ENT Expert

Experienced and patient ENT Specialist who has your best interests at heart. We aim to provide you with accessible and specialized care for any ENT condition in a comfortable setting.

2

Friendly & Helpful Clinic Staff

Our friendly staff will assist you to the best of our ability and we are happy to accept most insurance providers and assist with E-filing with relevant insurance providers or Medisave.

3

Advanced ENT Equipment & Fully Equipped Facility

Our ENT Specialist, Dr Gan Eng Cern, will be able to diagnose and offer personalised treatments for your specific ENT condition. You can expect a high level of ENT care in a spacious setting with in-house minor surgical, endoscopy, allergy testing and microscopy services.

4

Financial Options

There are various financial options available for you to ensure that you are able to receive the most optimal treatment and care. Our ENT clinic staff will be able to assist you with your medical insurance claims and work with your chosen healthcare organization to minimize the hassle and paperwork required. In some cases, you may be able to utilise the funds in your Medisave account to defray part of the costs of your treatment. As our clinic is accredited by the Medisave board, we are able to process your claims from your Medisave for certain clinic procedures.

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