Professional Earwax Removal
The substance we commonly call earwax is formally called cerumen, and it’s actually designed to be a good thing. Cerumen protects our ears from dust, foreign particles, microorganisms, and irritation from substances like water. It’s a simple compound of natural oils, or sebum, and dead skin cells from inside the ear. Our bodies naturally work hard to protect our ears from outside dangers, and it’s a very elegant and efficient solution most of the time. Like nose hairs or eyelashes, these simple, little parts of our body play an important role in protecting our five senses. Earwax also keeps our ears lubricated so they don’t feel dry and itchy all the time.
Why Earwax Can Be A Problem
Normally, when you move your jaw by chewing or talking, you naturally help earwax move from the eardrum toward the ear opening in your outer ear so it can wipe or wash away. When earwax doesn’t move through your ear canal normally or wash and flake off naturally, it can begin to build up in the ear and block up the entire ear canal, which needs to be unobstructed in order for sound waves to pass through clearly. Not only is hearing loss a potential side effect, but earwax buildup can also lead to infection. Contact Windsor Audiology if you experience hearing loss or any of the following symptoms that may indicate an infection:
- Severe pain inside your ear
- Drainage from your ear
- Hearing loss
- An odor coming from your ear
How often should you clean your ears with professional help, and how do you know it’s time for a cleaning? Well, even though cotton swabs seem like a convenient way to clean your ears by yourself, they are not recommended for your ears and your ear canal is very delicate. The process of inserting a cotton swab can damage your ear or even push earwax back into the ear canal, compacting cerumen further instead of drawing it out. Rather than creating more problems than you solve, schedule an annual ear exam with Dr. Johnson and she will inspect your ears for signs of excess earwax buildup. In between appointments, you can contact us if you experience any of the following symptoms of earwax that requires professional cleaning:
- Sudden or partial hearing loss, which is usually temporary
- Tinnitus, a persistent ringing or buzzing sound (see the Tinnitus page for more information)
- A feeling of pressure or fullness inside either ear
To remove earwax in our office, we can use irrigation techniques, gentle suction, or specialized tools to carefully pull out any blockages and return your hearing to normal. There’s nothing to fear about this simple process and everything to gain, so contact us today to schedule an ear exam or cleaning at Windsor Audiology.
JUST DON’T DO IT
- Q-Tips are a bad idea and will make the wax impaction worse.
- Keys, paperclips, writing pens, or other small skinny metal objects…. These objects have the potential to seriously harm your ear canal or your eardrum which could result in a permanent hearing loss.
- Ear wax candles. This is not a proven effective method, it is dangerous, and the wax at the end of the candle that you used is just the wax from the candle not your ear. You run the chance of the wax going into your ear canal and burning your ear and ear drum.
- Do not use HOT water in your ears this will burn your ear canal and ear drum and could cause irreparable damage to your eardrum or ear canal and would be extremely painful. Also, causing permanent hearing loss!
If you have wax or cerumen build up in your ears please see an audiologist, ENT, or primary care physician. If they recommend that you use a wax softening drop or cleaning kits then follow the directions just like you would a prescription.