Personal Wax Management
However, wax can sometimes build up making it difficult for the ear to self-clean. Wax will commonly build up in those with narrow ear canals, hearing aid and ear plug users and can become more bothersome as we age. These factors can stop the wax working its way to the outer ear, causing it to gradually accumulate.
For hearing aid users, this build-up can prevent the amplified sound reaching the eardrum, or may cause the aid to whistle (feedback).
Our method of wax removal is ideal for anyone with a history of eardrum perforation, middle ear problems, previous ear surgery or discomfort with the syringing method.
Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a waxy substance produced by the glands in the ear canal. It is a natural part of the ear’s self-cleaning mechanism.
Symptoms of wax build-up in the ears can include earache, hearing loss or muffled hearing, a feeling of fullness in the ear, ringing or tinnitus, dizziness, and ear infections. Some individuals may also experience itching, discharge, or a persistent cough due to the presence of excess earwax.
Several risk factors can contribute to earwax blockage. These include frequent use of earphones or hearing aids, the production of excessive or dry earwax, narrow or twisted ear canals, older age (as earwax becomes drier and harder to remove), and certain activities that introduce foreign objects into the ear, such as using cotton swabs or inserting small objects.
Ear wax blockage is usually diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and, if necessary, additional tests. A healthcare professional such as an Audiologist, can examine your ears using an otoscope, a handheld instrument with a light. They will look for signs of ear wax blockage, such as visible wax or obstruction of the ear canal. In some cases, they may recommend additional tests, such as a tympanometry or audiometry, to assess the function of the middle ear and hearing.
Preferred treatment from Audiologists includes Microsuction where the Audiologist will use a gentle suction device to remove the ear wax. This method is especially useful for individuals with sensitive ears or those who have had previous ear surgeries.
Treatment for ear wax build-up typically involves methods to remove or soften the wax. Our Audiologists preferred treatment options are:
- Over-the-counter ear drops: Ear drops, such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide solutions, can be used to soften the wax and facilitate its removal. Follow the instructions provided with the ear drops and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.
- Manual removal: Healthcare professionals, such as doctors or ENT specialists, may use specialized instruments like curettes or suction devices to manually remove the ear wax. This method should not be attempted at home, as improper techniques or tools can damage the ear canal or eardrum.
- Microsuction: This procedure involves using a suction device to remove the ear wax. It is commonly performed by healthcare professionals and is effective for removing stubborn or impacted wax.
It’s important to note that if you experience severe pain, sudden hearing loss, persistent symptoms, or have a history of ear problems, it is recommended to seek medical attention from an Audiologist for proper evaluation and treatment.
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