What is ear wax?
Earwax, medically known as cerumen, is a natural waxy substance secreted in the ear canal of humans and other mammals. Earwax is usually yellowish but it can also be brown, red, orange, or grayish, depending on various factors.
Primarily, earwax exists to protect the skin of the ear canal against bacteria, water, fungi, and other foreign objects. Earwax also serves as a natural lubricant for the ear.
Why is ear wax removal important?
Earwax serves as a natural protective layer for the ears. Without earwax, the ears would be dry and itchy. However, too much earwax is not healthy for the ears and could lead to earwax buildup or earwax impaction.
Earwax buildup can cause itching, pain, or discomfort and, if left untreated, can lead to infection and other ear complications. To prevent such instances from happening, it is recommended that a hearing healthcare professional safely remove earwax.
Audiology and Speech Solutions offers professional ear wax removal services. When it comes to ear wax removal, always opt for the safe and sanitized option.
How do you know if you have ear wax buildup?
Earwax buildup can manifest itself through the following symptoms:
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- Pain or discomfort in the ear
- Muffled hearing, which may continue to worsen over time
- Ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
- Itchiness in the ear
- Discharge or odor from the ear
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to schedule an appointment with an audiologist to rule out any other complications or underlying medical conditions.
Professional Ear Wax Removal
DIY ear wax removal kits are common but these are not guaranteed to be safe and effective. For more serious cases, DIY ear wax removal kits are not recommended.
Professional ear wax removal involves special tools and equipment to vacuum, wash out or flush earwax. In some cases, an audiologist, ENT, or otolaryngologist may need to use microscopic visualization to efficiently remove wax and dirt.
Blockage caused by earwax can be removed through irrigation, curette, suction, or a rubber ball syringe. If you have a puncture or perforation in your eardrum, attempting any OTC earwax removal remedies is highly discouraged. This might put your ears at risk for infection. This is one of the benefits of getting professional earwax removal because a visual examination can be carried out before anything else.
Does ear wax cause issues with hearing aids?
Without regular ear cleaning, ear wax may clog the hearing aid. The wax may work its way into the tiny holes, vents, tubes, or receivers of the hearing aids which could lead to device issues.
An earwax blockage may also cause hearing aids to whistle or produce feedback.
Ear Wax Removal FAQs
Is hydrogen peroxide safe?
Audiologists and hearing healthcare professionals discourage the use of pure hydrogen peroxide in the ear canal. The main reason is that hydrogen peroxide has an active drying agent that can dry the skin and lead to itchiness.
Most over-the-counter ear wax removal products have diluted peroxide in their formulation. We strongly discourage the use of pure or undiluted hydrogen peroxide in the ears.
Can you use cotton swabs to clean your ears?
A lot of people use cotton swabs or Q-tips to clean their ears. While this is a common practice, audiologists discourage the use of cotton swabs to clean ears because it can push the earwax further into the ear canal.
To be clear, cotton swabs or Q-tips should only be used to clean the outer portions of the ear (e.g. the pinna, ridges, and bowl of the ear).
Is ear wax removal painful?
Generally, earwax removal doesn’t hurt. If no middle ear contra-indications exist, using mineral oil drops can help soften the wax and prep the ears prior to your appointment. This helps ease the wax removal process. Professional ear wax removal may be done in as little as 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes, without requiring any anesthesia or special preparation.
Ear Wax Removal – Audiology and Speech Solutions
Audiology and Speech Solutions provides exceptional hearing care in Rye, NY. We offer professional ear wax removal services on top of providing hearing evaluations, hearing aid fittings, and other hearing health-related services.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!