Are your ears feeling blocked? Are you finding it hard to hear conversations as a result? If the answer is yes, you likely have a build-up of earwax. The good news is that it can be treated very easily by us.
Earwax is a secretion of the body, scientifically known as cerumen. It is produced by glands in the ear canal. The color will vary from light-yellow to dark-brown and no specific color should be correlated with an obstruction of earwax.
This useful substance has many practical uses and safeguards the ear canal in a number of ways. The main duty of earwax is to act as the shield of the ear canal, preventing outside particles such as dust or hair from entering the inner ear and damaging the ear.
Earwax also cleans your ear. As it slowly moves out of the inner ear, it gathers dead skin cells and other debris and throws them away when it dries and falls naturally from the ears. Lastly, earwax also stops liquids from irritating the skin within the ear canal.
However, there can be times when earwax becomes impacted in the ear.
What can cause earwax build-up?
Some common causes of earwax build-up include:
- The overproduction of earwax by some people
- Naturally narrow ear canals that prevent earwax from leaving the ear efficiently
- Excessively hairy ear canals
- Dry earwax, something that affects older adults more commonly
- Swimmer’s ear
- Inserting cotton buds into the ear
- Wearing hearing aids
- Excessive use of earbuds/earplugs
Why should I have my ear cleaned professionally?
Cotton buds are not meant to be used to clean out earwax. When you make the mistake of putting something on your ear, you run the risk of hurting your ear canal or eardrum. Most people burst or perforate their eardrum every year by putting cotton buds in there. ⠀
It's also no good idea to use ear candles to cure this earwax. If you don’t know what this is, it involves taking a tube made of fabric, soaking it in beeswax and inserting it into your ear. It is then lit on the other end. The tube that draws earwax supposedly causes suction to draw out earwax, but it is considered ineffective at this and can also be a fire hazard.
There are the main methods we use to remove impacted earwax. The method we use depends on the amount of impacted earwax and the condition of the ear canal.
1. Manual removal - We use a set of tools to carefully remove the impacted mass of earwax.
2. Irrigation – We use an ear syringe or a jet irrigator to insert water into the ear canal in order to soften the impacted wax. Ear irrigation is a pain free procedure, but your ear may feel odd as the water squirts around your ear canal.
3. Microsection - This method uses a binocular operating microscope & a medical low-pressure suction device to carefully remove the wax from your ear canal.
4. Home treatments – For mild cases of impacted earwax, you may even be able to perform the process at home by yourself.
If you think that you may have an ear canal obstruction due to your earwax, we're happy to serve you! Contact us today to set up an appointment.