THE perfect ear should be about twice as long as broad, and should be attached to the head almost straight or slightly inclined backwards, and should touch the head with the back of its upper point. The critical observer will find very few perfect ears. Mothers and nurses are greatly to blame for the almost deformed ear we constantly see in our young people. There is nothing gives a lad so uncouth an appearance as wide, projecting ears, and although a girl can dress her hair to somewhat lessen the ugly deformity, as long as the ears stand out from the head they are a great blemish. There is no need to have recourse to a surgeon to effect a cure in outstanding ears. A simple bandage worn at night, which holds them flat to the head, is all that is necessary. There is some sort of a patent skeleton cap, I believe, which has the same purpose in view, and is more comfortable to wear, particularly in warm weather. The ear contains no bones and is for this reason easily trained.
The reprehensible practice of piercing the ears is traceable to remote antiquity. I am opposed to it, not from an aesthetic point of view alone, though I think any mu tilation of the flesh abominable; but piercing the ears is not always a simple and harmless operation. It has been known, when clumsily performed, to develop erysipelas and abscesses of a most painful and sometimes dangerous character. Eczema of the ear is a common ailment and a most disagreeable one. Indeed, all maladies of the external ear are peculiarly offensive. Women subject to eczema should eat quantities of fruit, salads, particularly dandelion and water cress, they should take frequent warm, calmative baths, and above all, they should not get either chilled or overheated. For a local application a weak dilution of carbolic acid is healing and agreeable, or a few drops of listerin diluted with water will allay the fearful itching of eczema of the ear. The following ointment is also excellent : –
Melt together 5 ounces pure lard, and 2; ounces white wag; add 1/2 ounce balsam of fir, and when it begins to cool, stir in 1/2 ounce carbolic acid. The addition of balsam of fir to this preparation corrects the disagreeable odor of the acid, and renders it slightly adhesive, which is desirable.
The ear is liable to various disorders. Children almost without exception, suffer from what is called “earache,” caused by a cold, occasionally by a blow. For common cases of earache, nothing is more effective than the application of either one of the lotions which I here give.
LOTION NO. 1, FOR EARACHE
Tincture of opium….1 dracham. Olive oil….1 drachm,
Tincture of opium is otherwise known as laudanum. The mixture should be heated. Insert a small piece of raw cotton thoroughly moistened with the lotion.
LOTION NO. 2
Sulphate atropine….8 grains. Pure water….1 ounce.
Mix. Apply to the inside of the ear by the aid of a camel’shair pencil brush. The application may be made frequently.
Where the earache is very severe a five to ten per cent. solution of cocaine administered by the aid of the camel’s-hair pencil brush, will temporarily at least, give quick relief. When the earache is continuous the subject should consult a skillful aurist. Failure to do this not unfrequently has resulted in permanent deafness.
Occasionally earache is caused by the formation of a hard mass of wax at the bottom of the outer passage. This accumulation will also produce deafness. It is too dangerous to attempt to dislodge this hardened cerumen, one’s self. The subject should immediately go to an experienced practitioner in diseases of the ear, for relief.
Children are sometimes subject to running from the ears. In such cases they should be immediately taken for examination to a good aurist.
Grown persons, as well as children, suffer agonies from earache. Where it is possible, a physician should always be called, as the pain which seems to be old-fashioned earache may be the precursor of a more serious ailment. Where one lives at a distance from a doctor, it is well to have a remedy at hand. I have tried Duval’s earache cure frequently, and always with success. The Duval formula is as follows:
Laudanum and chloroform, 15 drops each. Mix. Wet a small bit of cotton with the mixture, and introduce into the ear. The first effect is a sensation of cold; then there is a numbness followed by scarcely perceptible pain and a refreshing sleep. It is of the greatest importance that the external ear should be kept clean, and above all that the yellow cerumen should never be allowed to remain in the passage until it has hardened.
When the ear has been neglected until the cerumen is hardened, it produces temporary deafness, which may be removed by the following: –
Sassafras oil….10 drops. Glycerine….1 fluid drachm. Olive oil….1/2 ounce.
Mix thoroughly and drop a little into the ear every day until the cerumen is softened so that it may be removed.
The ear should always be cleansed by the aid of a small toilet utensil called an aurilave,–usually made of bone or ivory, with a tiny sponge covering one end.
It is an extraordinary and most disagreeable fact which I feel compelled to mention, that many women, otherwise scrupulously clean, seem not to understand how to wash and cleanse the ear of the accumulations of dust or cerunien. Nothing can be more shockingly disgusting than the result of such neglect. Occasionally one sees a group of blackheads in the shell of the ear. They are firmly imbedded, and more difficult to remove than in the face. They should be expelled by pressing either side of them with the fingers which should be covered with a handkerchief or bit of linen, to prevent the nails from cutting the skin. After the blackheads have been removed, the ear should be thoroughly washed with soap and water to which may be added a bit of washing soda or a little carbolic acid in solution.
Living insects sometimes get into the ear, and cause great alarm. They are instantly destroyed by pouring a spoonful of warm olive oil, or camphorated oil, into the ear, retaining it there until the next morning by means of a piece of cotton wool, when it may be washed or syringed out with a little mild soap and warm water.