ASK YOUR AUDIOLOGIST: My husband’s ears smell really bad. What can be done about it?

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First we have to determine what the cause of the smell is. Is it the ear or the hearing aid? If it is the ear it could be a wax build-up or a possible draining or infected ear. If it is just wax have it removed by your audiologist or ENT and then the ear shouldn’t smell any longer.

If one has a draining ear from a ruptured eardrum or chronic infection this should be evaluated by an ENT immediately. The eardrum may be able to be repaired or the infection cleared up then the smell should go away. Once in awhile I will see a patient with an un-repairable draining ear drum.

This drainage will smell if air gets to it. To combat this smell keep the ear as clean as possible with cotton swabs before bed and in the morning especially after bathing when drainage is the runniest. One product I like to use on the cotton swab is Eargene. It is like aftershave. It smells good and is soothing to the skin. Always be careful swabbing your ears. Only swab the opening of the canal and the outer ear. Do not go poking the swab deep down into the canal this could cause wax impaction or abrasion to the skin.

If one has a hearing aid the smell may be coming from wax on the aid, mold or dome tip. Keep your hearing aids as clean as possible. Wipe them down every time you take them out of your ears. The hearing aids should not be cleaned with anything moist but traditional molds can be sprayed with earmold disinfectant or wiped with audio wipes. Dome tips should be changed out when grungy. Most of the products mentioned above should be carried by your hearing professional.

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Dr. Tia Flynn is a certified audiologist and has been in business for over 17 years. Every Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. to noon, Dr. Flynn provides free hearing screenings at 1601 3rd St. in Coeur d’Alene. (208) 664-2767. Visit our newly updated website www.affordablehearinginc.com for an online hearing test and watch helpful videos.

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