As always, if there is any doubt, consult your health professional.
Sixty percent of visits to a pediatrician deal with ear examinations
and infections. In a great deal of them, we could have spared ourselves
and the doctor the effort by some elementary examination into the
ear, on our own, if we only had the equipment and some basic know-how.
In the U.S., the land of unlimited opportunities, this problem has
been successfully tackled. A relatively simple instrument, developed
by Mila Medical, allows us a peek into the internal secrets of the
ear. No wonder than that the earscope, similar to the doctor's otoscope,
has enjoyed great demand in the U.S. This instrument does not replace
a visit to the doctor when it is warranted, that is, when the ear
trouble is accompanied by great pain, fever and a bad discharge, but
it may be able to nip incipient infections in the bud. It can help
a mother examine her family's ears and decide if a doctor's visit
A healthy eardrum has the appearance of a thin pinkish-grayish membrane,
shiny and translucent. It is generally concave, that is, turned inward.
If it appears red, with a discharge or bulging outward, this is a
sign that one should visit the doctor.
The earscope comes with illustrated instructions which introduce us
to the structure of the normal ear, from the inside, and teaches us
to differentiate between a healthy and a sick ear. The instrument
is imported and marketed by the Dr. Green Laboratories from Ein Yahav
via Tel Aviv offices.
The earscope enables us to see accumulation of wax, one of the prevalent
annoyances, which, while normal, can interfere with hearing, but can
also cause pain and infection. There are some home remedies to rid
the ear of wax, but it is wise to ascertain that there are no other
problems, like infection, first, before applying them.
Outer ear infections, caused by water accumulated in the ear canal
after bathing or swimming, can result in inflammation and infection
of the ear canal. In the case of a middle ear infection, more common,
the infection can cause pain and fever, hearing problems, redness
of the eardrum and even perforation. In these cases, it is necessary
to consult a doctor for treatment.
[Some common home remedies for ears: Hydrogen peroxide can be purchased
at the pharmacy without prescription, and is a good thing to have
around. It is a disinfectant, since it decomposes rapidly (as its
brown bottle indicates -- it is light sensitive) and `flushes'
germs away. Thus, it is a good first-aid for scrapes and cuts. It
is excellent for cleaning out wax from ears: recline head on a towel
and pour some drops into the ear. Wait a few minutes until there is
a foaming action, then clear away with some twirled cotton inserted
in the ear. Be very careful using Q-tips. Some doctors would like
to see them outlawed! Procedure can be repeated for stubborn wax.
Loosened wax can also be removed carefully after this bath with a
The most common remedy for earache is to pour some olive oil unto
a teaspoon holding a peeled clove of garlic. Heat over a flame until
it sizzles, cool off (make sure it is cooled) and then pour some oil
into ear and plug up with cotton. This can be applied to sleeping
Prevention Magazine offers an excellent tip for children sensitive
to water-in-the-ear. In a small bottle, prepare equal amounts of white
vinegar and alcohol. Apply a few drops in the ears after exposure
to water. This helps evaporate the residue water that gets stuck in
the ear and which is an excellent growing place for bacteria and fungi.]