Ear wax is a natural secretion that comes from some glands in your ear canal. The medical name for ear wax is cerumen. It can be compared to a gland that produces sweat, so basically, ear wax can be likened to ear sweat. Some people aren’t born with glands that produce ear wax which causes itchiness in the ears. Put simply, ear wax is an important, natural occurrence in the ear.
Ear wax is important for many reasons. Since it is made of wax, it primarily protects the ear from having stagnant water inside. Any moisture or water inside the ear can be drained easier thanks to the ear wax. Ear wax can also be considered as a natural lubricant, reducing itchiness or tickling sensation due to ear dryness. Since our ears are open and prone to foreign objects, dust, bugs and other small debris, ear wax helps repel foreign objects naturally. Its acidity also helps keep bacteria out of the ears as well.
However, too much of something is not really healthy, and this notion also applies to excess ear wax. Excess ear wax can affect your hearing and may also cause difficulties or physical obstruction during ear check-ups.
Audiologists are fully capable of cleaning out the ear canal, getting rid of excess ear wax and other dirt and debris. This procedure is done through surgical loops or simple removal or suction through an irrigation system. Our audiologists at HearCare Audiology
are trained at cleaning and removing ear wax safely. We are located East of the Fort Wayne
Ear wax can trigger or cause problems with hearing aids. Why? It’s because ear wax is designed to be drawn out from the ears. When you’re wearing hearing aids, you’re basically sticking something in your ear which traps or obstructs the natural flow of the ear wax.
This is why it is very important to go to a hearing care expert (audiologist) or ENT to regularly to remove the ear wax using sterile tools and proper techniques. Keep in mind that not all hearing healthcare providers are equipped to perform ear wax removal so you need to be very careful in choosing the right and accredited provider.
Ear wax removal can be done at home. There are numerous ear drops or ear wax removal kits available at major drugstores. However, hearing care professionals do not really encourage ear wax removal at home. Why? It’s because you can’t really see what’s going on inside your ear and it may actually do more harm than good. Also, in the event that you have excessive or occluded ear wax, it is much better to see a hearing care professional so as not to aggravate the situation.
Some people can sense or feel that they have an ear wax buildup. People with excessive ear wax build-up are most likely to experience a feeling of occlusion, a sensation of fullness in the ears, pain, discomfort and/or itchiness inside the ears.
Hearing healthcare professionals would never recommend pure hydrogen peroxide in the ear canal. One reason is that hydrogen peroxide has a drying agent, so it can really dry the skin. Dryness inside the ears can lead to itchiness.
You might notice that most over-the-counter ear wax removal products are peroxide based, however, they are diluted. Never put pure or undiluted hydrogen peroxide in your ears. If you’re planning to do so, you might as well use over-the-counter ear wax removal kits.
Medical professionals would never recommend putting a Q-tip inserted into the ear canal. When you do that, you might see some evidence or discoloration on the Q-tip. Looking at the discharge or ear wax might make you think that you have successfully removed the ear wax. However, it doesn’t really work that way. If you really want to use Q-tips or cotton buds, you can use them on the outer part of the ear, like the bowl of the ear, the ridges, or the pinna
. Again, inserting cotton swabs in the ear canal is highly discouraged.
Ear wax is typically not painful. However, it can cause pain when it is shoved very deep in the ear canal. When the ear wax is already trapped and accumulated near the eardrum, it may definitely cause a painful or uncomfortable sensation.
When ear wax is trapped right against the eardrum, it can cause severe tinnitus, which can be really disturbing.
Fortunately, this type of tinnitus can be cured by simply removing the ear wax. However, if the ear wax is already removed but the patient is still suffering from tinnitus, it would be best to have an appointment with an ENT or hearing healthcare professional.