As we covered in a previous blog, titled “Does Earwax Cause Hearing Loss?’, a buildup of earwax can cause temporary hearing loss. In fact, excessive buildup of earwax is a relatively common issue that most people will struggle with at some point in their life.
While many people will look to solve the buildup of earwax on their own, wax removal is actually a very delicate process that is best addressed by a hearing professional - such as York hearing Clinic.
Before we get into some do’s and don’ts of dealing with earwax, let’s first take a look at what the function of earwax actually is, and some of the symptoms associated with an ear blockage.
What is the function of earwax?
Earwax, also called cerumen, is a sticky, waxy and shiny substance that is produced by the wax glands located in the outer part of your ear canal. This wax performs a variety of essential functions for the health of your ears.
Earwax works as a self-cleaning mechanism by trapping tiny particles of dust, dead skin cells and dirt and filters them out and away from your eardrum and middle ear. This helps to protect your ears from infection. Not only that, but earwax also lubricates your ear canals, preventing them from becoming dry and itchy.
What are the typical symptoms of ear blockage?
Once earwax has served its purpose, it begins to migrate from your ear canal to the opening of your ear.
This is where it should dry up and fall out of your ear. However, some people produce more earwax than others. This excessive earwax can accumulate in the ear canal and cause symptoms such as:
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- Hearing loss
- Tinnitus - ringing in the ear
- Ear drainage
The do’s and don’ts of dealing with ear wax
Even though these symptoms don’t generally lead to any long-term hearing loss issues, suffering from these symptoms can be miserable and can negatively affect your quality of life. That’s why many people will turn to home remedies such as ear candling, ear swabs or over-the counter ear cleaners to fix the issue.
Unfortunately, these home remedies, at best, are ineffective and pointless. At worst, they can leave you with permanent hearing loss. Cleaning your ears is a highly delicate process, and should be left to a professional hearing expert.
That’s why we’ve created a quick list of best practice do’s and don’ts when it comes to dealing with earwax.
- Do understand that earwax is normal. If it’s not affecting your hearing then it’s fine.
- Do always ask a hearing professional to remove any excess earwax for you.
- Do remember the symptoms of excessive earwax. This way you’ll know if you are experiencing an issue.
- Do ensure that you check with a hearing professional if you plan on using any home remedies to solve your excessive earwax.
- Don’t insert an ear swab into your ear canal, as this could cause permanent hearing loss damage.
- Don’t clean your ears too much. This can result in irritation or infection.
- Don’t try home remedies such as ear candling to remove ear wax, this can actually cause permanent hearing loss if not signed off by a hearing professional.
- Don’t ignore ear problems. Symptoms are a sign of a potential problem and leaving it to sort itself could lead to long-term damage.
How an ear specialist will help
Remember, it's normal for your ears to produce wax and cleaning away the wax can actually harm your ears more than it helps. However, if it's necessary that you clean your ears, then it’s vital you visit a professional hearing expert.
A hearing professional will be able to properly diagnose the cause of your ear blockage and verify whether earwax is actually the issue. If so, they can arrange to have the excess earwax removed safely, which will significantly improve your hearing.
Are you looking for more information about excess earwax removal and want to seek advice from a professional hearing clinic? Contact the York Hearing Clinic team of experts today. We would be more than happy to answer any questions that you have.