Earwax, also known as cerumen, is mainly a combination of dirt, dead skin and oil. The oils in the ear canal are naturally produced by the glands. Earwax removes itself from the ear canals like a conveyor belt by migrating out. However, in some cases it does do this naturally and can block the ear drum.
How will I notice if I have earwax blockage?
- Decrease in hearing
- Ringing in the ears; also known as tinnitus
- Off balanced or dizziness
- Ear fullness
- Could have other symptoms
There are different ways to have earwax removed. The most common ways for earwax removal are doing it at home or by a professional.
Earwax removal at home
Baker Audiology has earwax removal kits to buy and use at your house. They are also available at drug stores to purchase these items. Most common kits consist of a softening liquid and a rubber bulb syringe. Use the directions to do this properly. Some people often use hydrogen peroxide to soften the wax. With any liquid, one must be careful, due to the possibilities of other outer ear issues a person may have. These methods can remove the earwax, however in some cases one will need additional help if the earwax is too hard or has been in the ear too long. Before attempting at-home earwax removal, it is advised to speak with your hearing care provider to be sure it is safe for you.
Do not do when removing Earwax:
- Do not use q-tips; this often packs the wax deeper down into the ear canal.
- When using cotton swabs, they can sometimes accidentally be inserted too far into the ear canal.
- Do not use water or liquid if you have a perforated ear drum. This may lead to an ear infection due to the wax not coming out, but going further down in your ear canal or cavity.
Earwax Removal at a Professionals office
If the earwax blockage is more significant, it may need to be removed at your hearing care professional’s office. Hearing specialists usually use either irrigation or a curette tool for removing the wax.
A curette tool is used when seeing behind the earwax is not possible; it is important this happens just in case a patient has a perforation or infection behind the earwax.
In some cases, irrigation will be used. We do not use this at Baker Audiology. We use a lighted curette tool and video otoscopy so the patient can see the wax being removed and how their ear canal looks post removal of the earwax.
If you experience pain or discomfort because of earwax. It's important that you see Baker Audiology or your family doctor as soon as possible to address the issue. Removing earwax doesn't have to be painful and should bring you relief.
If you or a loved one suffers from tinnitus, we offer a comprehensive examination.