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Health News of Wednesday, 4 March 2020


Stop using bird feathers, pen covers to clean your ears – Ear specialist advises

Deputy Chief Audiologist at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Jemima Fynn play videoDeputy Chief Audiologist at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Jemima Fynn

Catch a bird, pluck a single feather from it and pull out the strands of hair from it until you have enough at the tapered end of the feather. Crop the feather to a desired length and you’re ready for a feel of ‘ear goodness’.

This has been a practice among Ghanaians for several years in getting wax out of the ears and responding to itches but what you don’t know is that this act is actually the genesis of all discomfort people feel in the ear.

The directive health experts are sounding is vastly contradictory to what many Ghanaians practice and it's simply “don’t put anything in your ears, rather see a doctor if you want to get wax out of your ears or feel discomfort.”

This, however, is not the first time health experts are advocating for good health practices in relation to the ear but such advocacies seem to fall on deaf ears as people mostly resort to using match sticks, pen covers, and bird feathers as cleaning tools.

Deputy Chief Audiologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Jemima Fynn, in an exclusive interview with GhanaWeb, advised Ghanaians to desist from the impermissible acts of putting several unhealthy materials in their ears.

She said, instead of cleaning the ears, such materials introduce harmful organisms into the ear which later begins a new cycle of harmful infections.

Dr Fynn said the ears are very vital organs and as such must not be tampered with without expert guidance.

“People tend to put things in the ear, pens, feathers, and all that. You pick the feather from the hen that’s on the ground, the hen has been ‘swimming’ in the sand so once you put the feather in your ear you’re introducing organisms into the ear and that could begin a cycle of infection. When you put the pen in and you’re scraping the ear, you’ll spoil the normal structure because as you’re scraping some of the cells are coming off and will open up the ear for infection.” Dr Fynn cautioned.

On the other hand, she explained that people fail to heed to the advice of health experts mostly because of the nature of hearing impairment.

Unlike other disabilities, hearing impairment, according to her, can remain undetected for several years and may not affect the normal functionality of persons suffering from it.

Dr Fynn’s advocacy, therefore, remains simple, “we still advise that you don’t put anything into your ear if there’s any discomfort you report…”

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