Professional ear wax removal involves an audiologist or hearing healthcare practitioner using special tools and equipment to get rid of accumulated or impacted wax.
Initially, ear wax serves as a protective barrier and acts as a moisturizer and lubricant of the skin in the ear canal. Yes, contrary to the popular notion, earwax is not all “icky” or dirty. In fact, earwax actually supports the ear’s “self-cleaning” mechanism.
However, overproduction of ear wax may cause problems that would need to be addressed by an audiologist. Ear wax problems may affect hearing and lead to discomfort or infections.
Understanding Ear Wax
Ear wax is a mixture of dead skin cells, secretions from glands, hair, and dirt. It can be wet or dry.
The amount and type of earwax produced can vary depending on age, genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
How Do You Know If You Have Excessive Ear Wax?
If you experience symptoms such as ear fullness, earache, decrease in hearing, tinnitus, itching in the ear, or dizziness, you may have excessive earwax.
You may also notice discharge or earwax buildup from the ear. It’s important to avoid using Q-tips or other tiny, sharp objects to clean your ears, as they can push the earwax deeper into the ear canal and cause infection or injury.
How Do You Clean Your Ears?
Cleaning the ears is a part of good hygiene. However, it’s worth noting that you should only clean the outer part of the ear.
The ear canal and ear drum are very delicate, which means that they can easily be injured or perforated. We highly discourage the use of cotton swabs or other sharp, tiny objects that might cause harm to the ear canal or ear drum.
If you want to clean your outer ears, you can use a soft, damp cloth to and wipe gently, preferably after a bath or shower, when the skin is soft and damp.
If you have issues with earwax, we suggest that you see an audiologist for a check-up and professional earwax removal if necessary.
How Does An Audiologist Clean Ears?
One of the services audiologists are trained to do is ear cleaning. Here’s what to expect during an ear wax removal session:
Examination: An otoscope is typically used during an ear examination. During this step, we will look into your ear canals and check the extent of earwax buildup.
Earwax Removal: There are several methods to remove earwax and we will choose the method depending on the severity of the buildup. Common earwax removal methods include suction, irrigation, and manual removal using a special spoon-like instrument or curettes.
Follow-up Care: After the procedure, we will provide home-care instructions for preventing future earwax buildup. We may also prescribe ear drops and other ear hygiene products as needed.
When to Consult a Medical Professional
Excessive earwax buildup can cause pain, discomfort, ringing in the ears, pain, and hearing loss. In some cases, professional help may be necessary to remove earwax safely.
Below are some instances when you should consider seeing a professional for ear wax removal:
- Muffled hearing
- Severe pain or discomfort
- History of ear problems
- Ringing in the ears
How often should I get my ears professionally cleaned?
For most people, professional ear cleaning is not really needed on a regular basis. In fact, cleaning the ears too often may disrupt the natural environment of your ears. The frequency of professional ear cleaning depends on various factors, such as health status, age, and history of ear problems.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of earwax buildup, it’s best to consult an audiologist and have your ears checked.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the questions that patients frequently ask related to ear wax removal and ear cleaning.
If you have a specific question that you need answered, please contact us.
How do you know if you need ear irrigation?
You may need ear irrigation if you experience symptoms of earwax blockage, such as a feeling of fullness in the ear, muffled hearing, or tinnitus.
If you have a history of ear problems or if you use hearing aids regularly, you may be more prone to earwax accumulation which would require ear irrigation. Make sure to consult an audiologist first for a proper diagnosis and to determine if ear irrigation is recommended for your condition.
Are There Safe “At-Home” Ear Wax Removal Techniques?
When you have problems with earwax, you might want to try at-home remedies prior to seeing an audiologist. In such cases, you would have to make sure that you are using a safe method to avoid risking your ear health.
Some at-home remedies for ear wax removal include the ff.:
- Over-the-counter ear drops: Generally, these drops help relieve common ear-related symptoms, such as wax buildup, ear pain, and ear infections. They have a combination of ingredients that work together to soften earwax and reduce inflammation. Make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully when using ear drops, because misuse might lead to further ear problems.
- Ear irrigation: This is a simple method for attempting to remove excess earwax. It involves flushing the ear canal with warm water using a bulb, syringe or special spray bottle. Although ear irrigation can be done at home, you must take precautions to avoid pushing the wax further into the ear canal or injuring the ear.
- Earwax removal kits: These kits may include ear drops, a bulb syringe, or some other ear wax removal tool to flush the ear canal and remove wax.
If you are unsure or not confident in performing “at home” or DIY ear wax removal, you can always seek professional help to address your earwax issues.
Why does earwax vary in color and texture?
Earwax can range from light yellow to dark brown, depending on various factors such as genetics, age, and environment.
Individuals with Asian or African lineage may have darker earwax due to higher levels of melanin pigment produced by the body.
Meanwhile, the texture of earwax can go from flaky and dry to sticky and wet. Older adults tend to have dry earwax while younger individuals tend to have wet earwax. The texture of earwax can be affected by diet, hormonal changes, diet, and the use of certain medications.
Abilene Audiology Co. | Professional Ear Wax Removal Services in Abilene, TX
Your hearing is our priority! At Abilene Audiology Co., we are committed to giving you the best hearing care possible through the expertise of our audiologists, our state-of-the-art equipment, and best practices.
We offer professional ear wax removal services and other hearing care services in Abilene, TX.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation!