Ear wax, otherwise known as cerumen, is naturally produced for three reasons. First is to lubricate the delicate tissue in the ear canal from drying out. Second is to protect from foreign bodies and infection. Lastly, wax protects your eardrum from outside intrusions.
Removing earwax on your own is possible, however, you won’t know if you have completed the job unless you can see inside the ear canal when you have finished. At the pharmacy there are wax softeners, bulb syringes and disposable tools for sale.
Without knowing the texture of the wax, it is impossible to know what will work. Ear anatomy is another important factor. The shape and size of the ear canal will dictate what method is best. For these reasons, many products that are sold over the counter or on the internet will result in disappointment.
Ear candles should be avoided. Ear candling is a treatment used in alternative forms of wellness. For the purpose of wax removal, it is not effective and not recommended.
If irrigation is the method of choice, water temperature is critical. Water that is too cold or too hot can result in dizziness.
Putting cotton swabs into the ear canal is not recommended. Although it is satisfying to pull out wax, it is impossible to see how much wax got pushed in deeper. Additionally, excessive use of cotton swabs can dry out the tissue.
If there have been any medical concerns with the ear or if the eardrum is not intact, seek help from a professional. Don’t attempt to remove the wax yourself.
A professional will choose to remove wax one of three ways, manual extraction, microsuction or irrigation. After a medical history, careful inspection of the ear canal and existing cerumen, a decision is made on the best approach. Wax that is old and has hardened may require softening. Sticky wax may need gentle removal with tools. Using water to irrigate the ear or microsuction may be used in combination.
If you are concerned, and need professional guidance, have a physician or audiologist examine your ears. When the ears are clear, it assures for better hearing. Call us. We’ll be happy to help.