Earwax, also referred to as cerumen, is a substance that your ears produce to protect your ear canal from water and infection. This yellowish, waxy substance plays an important part in protecting your ears and keeping them clean.
Your ear canal is lined with glands and hair follicles that produce earwax. It protects your ear by trapping microorganisms, dust, bacteria and other foreign particles. The waxy substance stops water from aggravating the delicate skin in your ear canal.
Earwax is normally pushed towards the opening of your ear naturally. At this point, it will either fall out or be removed by washing. If you’re thinking of removing your earwax at home, there are some important things you should know.
Earwax Removal: What You Should Know
Recommendations from the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO) outline that you shouldn’t try to remove earwax, unless it is causing a problem. If you suspect that earwax is causing a problem, we recommend that your first port of call be your local hearing healthcare practitioner. They will be able to safely remove the earwax from your ear.
Should you decide to remove the earwax at home, follow these earwax removal tips:
- 1. Soften the wax. You’ll need an ear dropper for this. Don’t worry, you can find these at your local drugstore. Using the dropper, apply a few drops of one of the following in your ear canal:
- Baby oil
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Mineral oil
- 2. Irrigate your ear. It can take a day or two for your earwax to soften. Once it has, gently squirt warm water into your ear canal using a rubber-bulb syringe. Tilt your head slightly, and gently pull your outer ear up and back to straighten your ear canal. Once you’ve done this, tilt your head to the side and let the water drain out.
- 3. Dry your ear. Once you’ve drained the water, use a towel to gently dry your outer ear.
How Not to Remove Earwax
You may be tempted to try to remove earwax using a Q-tip. Do not do this. Using a Q-tip could end up pushing the wax further into your ear, rather than remove it. Plus, you risk damaging your ear. Impacted earwax can affect your hearing, and can be quite painful.
You may also hear people talk about another at-home ear wax removal technique known as candling. This technique involves a hollowed out, cone-shaped candle to remove the earwax. The idea is that it creates a vacuum seal in your ear which the earwax sticks to. Candling can be dangerous, and you risk damaging your ear.
Can Earwax Cause Hearing Loss?
For most adults, earwax is removed by washing or falling out naturally. However, some people have more wax in their ears than can easily be removed. In some cases, this wax can harden in your ear canal, and cause difficulty hearing.
Symptoms of an excess of earwax include:
- Partial hearing loss
- Feeling like your ear is plugged
- A sensation of fullness in your ear
At Anderson Audiology, We’re Here to Help You!
If you recognize any of these symptoms, please get in touch with the team at Anderson Audiology. Our hearing specialists would be happy to help clean your ears in our clinic. We can also advise on future cleaning techniques, to keep your ears in tip-top shape. Book an appointment with the healthcare professionals at Anderson Audiology by calling us on 702-997-2964. Alternatively, click here to request an appointment online.