In modest amounts, earwax, something many of us would rather avoid, is actually rather important. It’s a natural cleanser since it flows outward from the ear canal, collecting dead skin cells, hair, and debris. However, the feeling of an ear wax blockage is not only uncomfortable; it can also result in earaches, dizziness, or in extreme cases, hearing loss. Excessive ear wax should safely be removed from the ear regularly to maintain good ear canal health.
What is Ear Wax?
Earwax is a mixture of dead skin cells and hair and discharge from two separate glands. (Cleveland Clinic)
The body produces earwax, also known as cerumen, to protect the ears. In addition, ear wax has antimicrobial and lubricating qualities. Most of the time, chewing actions transfer old earwax through the ear canal while the skin in your ear grows from the inside out. Then, it flakes off when it reaches the outside of the ear, and you hardly even notice it.
Hearing Aids Increase The Amount of Ear Wax You Produce
If you wear hearing aids, listen up! (no pun intended).
“Hearing aids, which block the normal migration of earwax out of the ear, may also stimulate glands in the ear canal to produce more secretions. By some counts, between 60% and 70% of the hearing aids sent in for repair are damaged by earwax. It gets into vents and receivers, and the acidity degrades components.” – Harvard Health.
So if you wear hearing aids, make sure you are getting your ears checked regularly by a professional to ensure you are not getting a wax build-up. If you think your hearing aids may be damaged- take them to an audiology professional for repair and maintenance.
How Do I Know If I Have an Ear Wax Blockage?
Having some ear wax in your ears is a good thing- it protects your ears from allowing bacteria and other foreign bodies from reaching your eardrum. However, sometimes too much earwax or earwax that had been lodged into the canal can lead to a blockage. When your ears become blocked by earwax, it’s likely that you will experience some discomfort.
The Mayo Clinic lists these signs and symptoms of an ear wax blockage:
- The feeling of fullness in the affected ear
- Ringing or noises in the ear (tinnitus)
- Decreased hearing in the affected ear
How to Safely Remove Ear Wax?
If you feel like you have an earwax blockage, it is recommended that you see your doctor or a professional who specializes in ear wax removal to ensure the removal is done safely. However, in some cases, small blockages of ear wax can safely be removed at home.
To remove ear wax at home:
- Don’t use a cotton swab- this will only push the ear wax further into the ear canal
- Instead, soak a cotton ball and drip a few drops of plain water, a simple saline solution, or hydrogen peroxide into the ear with your head tilted, so the opening of the ear is pointing up.
- Allow gravity to pull the fluid down through the wax by holding it in that place for a minute.
- Then turn your head in the other direction to drain the fluid and wax.
Ear Wax Removal at The Hearing Place
Looking for professional ear wax removal near you? The Hearing Place offers ear wax removal services with a device called the Earigator™, the world’s most advanced self-contained ear irrigation system. Our ear wax removal procedure takes 3-5 minutes and is completely pain-free and highly effective. Learn more about ear wax removal at The Hearing Place.