What is earwax?
Ear wax has a medical term – cerumen. It is a mixture of oily sweat, dead skin cells and other particles such as dust. Even though removing ear wax from ear can be gratifying, some wax is actually a sign of a healthy ear. Earwax is a protective layer for your ear canal. It has antibacterial properties and is antifungal. If left alone, wax should migrate from your ear canal on its own. Many times using q-tips the wax gets pushed further into the ear canal and cannot come out on its own. It starts accumulating with time and requires professional ear wax removal.
The way your ears can self-clean the wax out in a natural way is very impressive, however it doesn’t always work for everyone.
You might be more likely to have a build-up of ear wax if you:
- Have narrow or very hairy ear canals
- Work in dirty or dusty places
- Cleaning out ear wax yourself, which can push wax further into your ear
- Wear headphones or a hearing aid regularly
- Are older, since wax gets harder with age and does not come out as easily
Symptoms of ear wax build-up:
- A plugged feeling in your ear
- Earache and pain
- Ringing or buzzing noises (also known as tinnitus)
- Hearing problems
Diagnosis of ear wax build-up
A simple ear examination will show whether you have ear wax build-up. Our doctors will use an otoscope to see if you have ear wax in your ears. They will be able to determine whether it’s partial build-up with soft wax, full occlusion with hard wax, or if there are any other foreighn bodies in your ear canal. Our doctors of audiology will be able to recommend the best way to remove ear wax from your ears.
Preventing ear wax build-up
You can’t prevent ear wax from building up, however if you do have trouble with excessive ear wax build-up, you can try using softening drops regularly to limit it.
Ways to remove ear wax professionally at Audiology Island
- Irrigation – involves inserting liquid into the ears to flush the earwax out. At Audiology Island our doctors use equipment that has water Pressure controls that quickly allows to perform even hard ear wax removal, while never endangering the eardrum. Use picture from here http://nupurtech.com/index.htm#overview
- Microsuction Earwax Removal – A Medical suction device is used to suck out the wax. A very thin steel fitting is fitted to the end of the suction tube which allows us to gently suck out the earwax from your canal. Micro suction is accepted across the medical profession as the safest and most comfortable method of earwax removal. With no liquids being used there is no fuss or mess during the procedure.
- Mechanical removal of earwax – after otoscopy shows where the earwax has accumulated, the curette is slowly introduced into the ear canal adjacent to the canal wall. A curette is a long, curved tool that is used to gently scrape the wax out of the ear canal, removing the blockage. The procedure is repeated until otoscopy reveals an ear canal was free. This procedure is most often used in child ear wax removal procedures.
Every one develops wax differently. Some people accumulate more wax than others. Even both ears can produce different amounts of wax. Coming to our clinic for a consultation with our doctors will help you understand your particular issue with ear wax, and you will be recommended wax removal schedule based on your needs.
If you have hard wax in your ear canal, our doctors would recommend earwax softening drops to make the procedure easy and painless.
At Audiology Island, doctors of audiology are licensed and certified to perform ear cleanings in the office.
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If you experience pain or discomfort as a result of earwax, or suspect that your ears are clogged with wax, you don’t have to look for ear wax removal places anymore. Call our clinic to address the issue. Removing earwax doesn’t have to be painful and should bring you relief.