Cerumen, also known as earwax, is naturally produced by the glands in the ears to lubricate the ear canals and keep dust and debris from getting too far down in the ear canal. Earwax also contains antibacterial properties.
Cerumen is made in the outer portion of the ear canal and typically clears itself from the ears, but in some instances, it can accumulate and cause blockages. The most common cause of blockage results from the repeated use of cotton swabs to clean the ears.
Hearing aid users can be more susceptible to wax build up, which can prevent hearing aids from working at their maximal potential. It is important to clean your hearing aids on a regular basis to prevent damage caused by wax.
Symptoms of cerumen blockage:
If a blockage occurs, it will need to be removed. Dario is an Audiologist trained in earwax removal with a great understand of ear anatomy and has the necessary tools to remove earwax from all patient’s ears.
Port Credit Audiology offers safe and effective wax removal services for children and adults. Below you will find information on how to prepare for your earwax removal appointment:
Preparing For Your Appointment
At Port Credit Audiology, we recommend using olive or mineral oil in the affected ear for 3-4 consecutive days prior to coming in for your appointment. Oil will help soften the wax to allow for an easier and more comfortable removal. You can also visit our store to purchase ear wax removal drops. Here are some tips to help soften earwax using oil:
- Use 2-3 drops of oil in one ear at a time at the end of the day
- Lay sideways for about 5 minutes to let the oil soak in
- When sitting up, there may be excess oil or some wax that comes loose. We suggest having a tissue ready to catch any oil or wax that drains from the ear
- Repeat this process for 3-4 days as earwax can build in layers and can take time to soften
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE PROCEDURE
Your Audiologist will collect a case history and will examine your ears using a video otoscope. This will allow your Audiologist to visualize the extent of any blockage and determine the best method of removal. A video otoscope also gives you the ability to see the wax buildup.
Your Audiologist will determine the best method of removal based on the location, amount, and consistency of the wax, as well as the health of your eardrums. The methods used for earwax removal are described below:
A lit tool is used to gently pull the wax from the ear canal. This is a safe and effective method of removing wax.
A low-pressure tool is used to push water into the ear canal to gently remove earwax. As the water drains out of the ear canal into a catch basin, it will bring the wax out with it. This is method is typically used when a curette is not recommended and only for patients with healthy eardrums.
Following the procedure, your Audiologist will examine your ears to inspect the health of your ear canals and eardrums and will counsel you on any follow-up necessary. Your Audiologist will also provide recommendations on how to care for your ears at home.
How to Not Remove Earwax Buildup
Cotton Swabs: people commonly use cotton swabs to try and remove earwax or dislodge a blockage. However, this can sometimes cause more problems as cotton swabs may push the blockage deeper into the ear canal, risking more damage to the ear, such as an eardrum perforation. Cotton swabs can also scratch your ear canals leading to more irritation.
Ear Candling: This is an ineffective and highly dangerous method that can be counterproductive as wax and debris from the candle can fall into the ear canal. To date, there is no scientific evidence showing its effectiveness.
Avoid using at-home earwax removal kits. Instead, it is recommended that you wipe the outer part of your ear with a cloth daily, and use oil to soften wax, as needed.