Earwax Removal and Ear Cleaning
Cerumen, also known as earwax, is naturally produced by glands in the ears to lubricate the ear canals and keep out dust and debris. At Inland Hearing Aids, Inc, we can help patients with a range of hearing-related issues, including earwax buildups.
Symptoms of Earwax Buildup
Earwax typically clears itself from the ears, but it can sometimes accumulate and cause a blockage. When this happens, you may need an earwax removal or ear cleaning. The symptoms of an earwax blockage include the following:
- Tinnitus (unexplained ringing or noise in the ear)
- Hearing loss
- Ear pressure
If you experience these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor to see if you have an earwax blockage that needs to be removed. Removal can be done at home or in a doctor’s office, depending on the size and severity of the blockage.
How NOT to Remove Earwax Buildup
People commonly use cotton swabs to try and remove earwax or dislodge a blockage. However, this may cause additional problems. Cotton swabs can push the blockage further down into the ear canal, risking even more damage to the ear.
Cotton swabs themselves can also be accidentally inserted too far into the ear canal, which can potentially damage your ear and rupture your eardrum. Physicians generally agree that cotton swabs are a bad idea for removing earwax and should only be used on the outer portions of your ear. You should never insert cotton swabs or any small object into your ear canal.
At-Home Earwax Removal
If you have an earwax blockage, your physician may send you home with an at-home earwax removal kit. Earwax removal kits can also be purchased over the counter in most drug stores.
These kits generally consist of a liquid that softens earwax and a small rubber bulb syringe. You will be given directions on how often to apply the liquid and how much to place in your ear canals. You will then let the liquid sit for a while in your ears to soften up the wax. It is normal to experience bubbling and fizzing sensations in your ears during this step. You will then use the bulb syringe to gently flush your ears with warm water to remove the earwax. It may take several days to completely clear earwax blockages from your ear.
Before attempting an at-home earwax removal, speak with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you. At-home removal may not be advised for people with certain ear conditions. If you have one of these conditions or a more severe blockage, the earwax can be removed at your doctor’s office.
Earwax Removal at a Doctor’s Office
Doctors typically use one of two methods to remove earwax: irrigation or curettage. Irrigation is the more common method. Irrigation is similar to an at-home earwax removal kit. However, your doctor may use stronger earwax removal medications in conjunction with irrigation. Carbamide peroxide is typically the main ingredient in these medications.
The less common method involves the use of a curette, which is a long, curved tool, along with suction to gently scrape wax out of the ear canal and remove the blockage.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort because of earwax or suspect that you have a blockage, see your doctor as soon as possible to address this issue. Removing earwax doesn’t have to be painful and should bring you relief.
Contact Inland Hearing Aids, Inc
If your earaches, hearing loss, tinnitus, or other symptoms are not caused by cerumen buildup, there may be a different underlying cause. The experts at Inland Hearing Aids, Inc are here to help. At our three locations across Central Washington, we offer a wide range of services, including hearing tests and hearing aid evaluations, to patients in our community. To schedule an appointment with us, call (509) 765-4467 or fill out our online form.