Ear wax (cerumen) is a waxy substance that helps provide the sensitive skin in the ear canal with a protective coating. Us audiologists love it as it provides so much protection for your ears, moisturizing the ear canal, and fighting off nasty infections.
What Makes the Ears Produce So Much Wax?
There are several things which can contribute toward its build-up. The main causes are:
- Using Q-tips, which pushes the ear wax further in the ear, and can cause serious damage to your eardrum.
- Stenosis, which is a narrowing of the ear canal and happens with age.
- Overgrowth of hair.
- Hypothyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.
How Do I Know I Have a Build Up?
The most common sign is hearing loss, which is usually temporary and is caused by the wax blocking your ear canal, stopping sound from traveling in. Other more serious symptoms include:
- Otitis externa, which is an infection of the external ear canal.
- Coughing, caused by the sinuses getting blocked.
- Fullness or ear pain.
- Vertigo or tinnitus – our team of experts can test for balance disorders, and provide a range of treatments available.
- Hearing aid problems such as feedback, which is when an acoustic signal escapes the ear canal, causing a screech.
How to Safely Remove Ear Wax
The best way to remove ear wax is to soften it by using an over-the-counter product that has some hydrogen peroxide in it. Please, ask a member of our team for some at your next appointment, and we will guide you through the steps.
Getting help from a hearing health care professional will allow a thorough clean of your ear using suction, irrigation, or a curette, which is a small curved instrument.
Above all, never attempt to irrigate your ear if you have had an ear injury or a medical procedure on your ear, one small error can seriously damage your ear.
*Warning* According to the FDA, ear candles are not safe and can cause burns, bleeding, or a punctured eardrum. If in doubt, contact a member of our team and schedule an appointment.
If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of hearing loss or a buildup of wax in your ear, get in touch now, so we can safely address the problem.