How is ear wax treated?

By Frankie Goodman 12th December 2019 Always Hear

Wax helps protect our ears from dust, dirt and bacteria. The body produces this wax naturally, but too much of it can muffle your hearing.

Ear wax (or Cerumen) is a naturally occurring substance found in the outer third of the ear canal. The process of migration allows the wax to travel round the ear canal taking dead skin and bacteria with it. Never use cotton buds to try and remove it as this only serves to push the wax back in again! Very few people suffer with sufficient levels of wax to cause hearing loss and they may have to have their ears syringed to remove the excess material. Other forms of wax removal are available including oily sprays which can help to break it down or a new process know as microsuction

Ear wax diagram

Microsuction is a quick, easy and safe procedure performed by a hearing professional. Typically, both ears can be treated within 30 minutes and once wax free your hearing should improve.

How often should you have the treatment?

Everyone makes different amounts of wax and at different speeds. Some people need regular appointments to manage this, others only need occasional ones. Your practitioner will recommend what’s best for you.

How to do ear cleaning at home?

It is not uncommon for some people to occasionally experience excess earwax. If your ear canal is completely blocked, you should not attempt to remove the wax on your own. In this situation, we would advise you to consult a hearing professional, your GP or an ENT.

Step 1

The following suggestion is to be followed only if you’re 100% sure you have no infections or perforations in your eardrum. Run warm water or saline solution into your ear canal (you can use an ear irrigation kit for that). After a few minutes, the lukewarm water will soften the earwax, so that it can drain through the outer ear. One simple way to do this is by letting a little warm water dribble into the ear canal while showering.

Step 2

Dab the ear opening and the liquid very gently with a clean cloth. Be careful when using warm water. The water temperature should never be hot, only lukewarm.

Another tip: You can help old earwax move out of the ear canal by chewing and moving your jaw. Once the earwax makes its way to the ear opening, it can dry up and fall out. You can also wipe it off with a cloth or a cotton ball.

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