Ear wax is one of those topics where there are a lot of misconceptions. Some people believe that they need to remove ear wax daily, while others don’t mess with it at all. Knowing why your ear creates wax and when to remove it will help fix these common misconceptions.
What Does Ear Wax Do?
Ear wax is a natural lubricant for the ears. It helps to trap unwanted debris that makes its way into your ear. Ear wax will work its way to the exterior of your ear, where you can wash it away.
Another reason your ears produce this wax is to help protect your skin. The gentle skin inside your ear canal needs constant lubrication. This helps prevent dryness that could lead to itchiness and other unhealthy issues.
What is Impacted Ear Wax and What Causes It?
Whenever ear wax, known as cerumen, doesn’t make its way out of the ear, it can become impacted. This impaction is a hardening of ear wax inside of the inner ear and it can lead to partial hearing loss. After impaction occurs, it can continue to snowball into a bigger and bigger problem.
Ear wax can become impacted for many reasons. The most common reason is overcleaning the ear with cotton swabs or similar items. While this process will remove some of the wax in your ear, it will also push some of that wax deeper into your inner ear.
When to See a Professional About Ear Wax Removal?
Patients who have impacted ear wax will need to see a professional to have it removed. The most prominent symptoms in patients with impacted ear wax issues include:
- Ear pain
- Partial hearing loss
- Ear drainage
- Sensation of ear fullness
If you experience hearing loss or one of these other symptoms, then you should get help. Our experienced hearing care professionals can help with earwax and more. There are two main methods that audiologists will use to remove the impaction. These include manual removal and irrigation.
With manual removal, we will insert forceps and a small scraping device (curette). They’ll scrape away the ear wax and use a suction device to remove the hardened chunks from the inside of your ear.
Irrigation is another option. The audiologist will shoot water into your ear to help loosen up the impacted wax. The water enters the ear via a jet irrigation device or an ear syringe. With both types of removal procedures, there will be some slight discomfort.
Contact Us Today
If you’re experiencing hearing loss or another symptom of ear wax impaction, it’s time to give us a call. Let our hearing care professionals assess your hearing loss. We can remove the impaction from your ear so that you can get back to enjoying your life.