Earwax—a substance we all produce, but rarely discuss. But did you know that earwax is crucial for the health of our ears?
Let’s delve into the wonderful world of earwax, or cerumen, and understand how best to manage it.
Why Earwax Is Essential
Earwax serves several protective functions. For starters, it acts as a barrier against foreign bodies like dust and small insects. Additionally, its antibacterial and antifungal properties make it an unsung hero in preventing ear infections.
However, not all earwax tales have happy endings. Excessive earwax can cause discomfort, a sensation of blockage, tinnitus, balance disturbances, or even temporary hearing loss.
What Triggers Excessive Earwax?
The production of earwax is a natural process. However, some individuals produce more than others. Over-cleaning the ears can ironically stimulate more wax production.
On the other hand, impacted earwax—that is, wax tightly packed in the ear canal—often occurs due to:
- Using cotton swabs, which pushes the wax deeper
- DIY ear irrigations with high water pressure
- Inserting foreign objects into the ear
Remember, our ears are delicate, and it’s good advice to avoid inserting anything smaller than your elbow!
To Remove or Not to Remove
Earwax usually exits the ear canal naturally. But if you’re experiencing discomfort, pain, hearing issues, or tinnitus due to earwax, it’s time to take action.
Softening agents can assist in the initial stages of wax buildup, but if complications arise, it’s best to see a professional.
Safe Earwax Removal at Home
While there are various at-home remedies for earwax removal, always consult with a hearing professional before trying them. Some of the generally safer methods are:
- Over-the-counter ear drops designed to soften earwax
- Ear irrigation kits that provide gentle rinsing
- Homemade ear drops using olive or mineral oil
- Homemade irrigating solutions, preferably saline
However, avoid these remedies if you have a history of ear surgery, damaged eardrums, or infections, as they can harm your hearing further.
Practices to Avoid
Certain methods, while popular, can be harmful:
- Ear candling: This controversial method has little evidence supporting its efficacy and poses risks such as burns.
- Cotton swabs or Q-Tips: These products can push wax farther in.
- Battery-operated swabbing tools: These can compact the wax, leading to impaction.
When Home Remedies Aren’t Enough
When earwax is so compacted that home solutions fail, it’s time to seek professional help. At Hearing & Balance Clinic, our experts are equipped with modern tools that can safely and efficiently remove earwax. Through suction, irrigation, or the use of a curette, we ensure a thorough cleanup.
If upon examination we find minimal earwax, we offer a complimentary hearing test to ascertain any underlying issues that might be making your ears feel clogged or uncomfortable.
Hearing & Balance Clinic
Earwax is a natural part of our bodies’ defense mechanism. While it plays a crucial role in ear health, it’s vital to ensure it doesn’t lead to complications.
Whether you’re looking for advice on managing earwax or need professional removal services, Hearing & Balance Clinic is here to assist.
Our friendly team can help you with any queries you might have, from earwax removal and balance testing to tinnitus, hearing aids, and aural rehabilitation.
If you’d like to get in touch or request a callback you can visit our contact page here, or you can call us at your local clinic at the numbers below:
Watkinsville: (706) 549-3111
Loganville: (678) 580-3313
Lavonia: (706) 356-0377