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Why Home Kits Or Ear Candling Is Not Ideal When It Comes To Removing Ear Wax

Posted On: December 15, 2022

Common audiology consult questions often are “what is the best way to remove ear wax?” and “how often do I need ear wax removed?” Ear wax is a natural and healthy part of the ears cleaning system. It helps to protect our ears from unwanted insects entering and keep the skin tissue in the ear canals healthy. Not all ear wax needs to be removed. A small amount of ear wax is non problematic and does not require removal.

Ear wax can build up more than it should and become stuck or impacted in the ear canal for some people. This is when ear wax can lead to bothersome symptoms such as: Reduced hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), ear pain and a sensation of blocked ears. This is when the wax needs to be removed to treat these symptoms.

There are a number of methods used to remove ear wax. This can involve the use of home ear cleaning kits (probes, cotton buds, water syringes) and ear candling. These home methods are not recommended by Audiologists and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialists because they can cause damage to the ear’s structures. Deep in the ear canal is the eardrum (tympanic membrane). This is a very thin delicate membrane that allows us to hear sounds as they enter the ear. Poking in the ear with any instrument without visualisation or squirting water in the ear at high pressure can cause physical trauma and perforation of the eardrum. This can result in severe pain, loss of hearing and ear infection. Sometimes a perforation may not heal on its own and will require surgical repair. Similarly, the use of ear candles can cause burns to the ear canal and perforation of the eardrum.

Wax is most safely removed by an Audiologist or an ENT Specialist under good visualisation with the use of a special scope. The Audiologist or ENT Specialist may use a few different instruments (curette and forceps) and/or a small vacuum like machine called microsuction, to carefully remove the wax from the ear without putting any pressure on the eardrum. The specialist can visualise all structures of the ear during the procedure to avoid causing any damage to ear structures. This procedure can be safely performed by our trained audiologists at Helix Hearing and Helix Hearing. You do not need a referral to book a wax removal appointment. It is best to avoid the use of ear wax removal drops for a few days prior to your appointment. Your audiologist may suggest you use them to soften wax if needed upon assessment. Certain types and brands of wax softening drops are more effective than others and your audiologist will be able to advise you which is most suitable and safe for you.