Safe Earwax Removal
Earwax Removal Appointments Available Fall 2022
Symptoms of Cerumen Buildup
Did you know that earwax removal can sometimes improve your ability to hear? If you’re struggling to hear, you may be suffering from a build-up of cerumen, more commonly known as earwax, in one or both ears which causes symptoms such as:
- Aural fullness
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Itchiness of the ear
- Decrease in hearing
- Decrease in hearing aid performance
Hear at Home is delighted to offer safe and effective earwax removal services by our licensed and trained hearing healthcare professionals. These earwax removal services are offered by appointment only at our Delbrook clinic in North Vancouver.
What is Cerumen?
Cerumen, otherwise known as earwax, is a mixture of secretions, naturally produced by glands in the outer ear canal. The presence of some wax in your ear is completely normal and serves several positive functions. Its antibacterial properties prevent dust and debris from travelling too far down your ear canal. Typically, cerumen removes itself without any intervention but in some instances accumulates and causes blockages. When this happens, you should visit a hearing healthcare professional for safe earwax removal.
Why do I get earwax build up?
Common causes of wax build-up include narrow ear canals, loss of elasticity and aging, the use of cotton swabs to clean ears, living/working in dusty environments, and even hearing aid use itself. That is why, if you currently wear hearing aids, you must clean your hearing aids regularly to prevent damage caused by wax. Simple and consistent maintenance ensures that your devices function optimally and that you are hearing properly.
How does earwax removal work?
The licensed and trained professionals at Hear at Home offer two methods of cerumen removal; irrigation and manual removal. Prior to any earwax removal, your clinician will complete a comprehensive case history and perform a visual inspection of your ear using a video otoscope. Both ‘pre-removal’ measures will help your clinician view the extent of any blockage and determine the safest method of earwax removal.
Irrigation (spray wash system)
A low-pressure irrigation system is used to remove wax from the ear. Rather than spraying water directly at the eardrum (potentially unsafe), this technique allows for the canal to be safely washed instead. As the water exits the ear canal, so will the cerumen; both will collect in a catch basin. This method of treatment is painless and easy however, it should only be performed on patients with healthy eardrums.
Manual removal (curette use)
A thin lit, one-time-use tool is used to gently scoop, pull or extract the cerumen from the ear canal. The curette can be angled and of varying lengths. This method of eawrwax removal is often recommended when a patient does not have healthy eardrums.
If you are prone to excessive wax build-up or have had cerumen removed in the past, Hear at Home suggests that you have your ears routinely checked and cleaned. A discussion surrounding pertinent next steps, at-home treatment plans, etc. will always follow an earwax removal appointment.
Safe At-Home Earwax Removal Measures
Some safe and effective measures to manage earwax build-up at home can be taken at home and include the use of softening agents such as mineral oil.
- Place 2-3 drops of oil in one ear.
- Lay sideways for approximately 5 minutes to allow for the oil to ‘sit and soak.’
- Wipe any excess oil from the outside of your ear with a soft cloth.
- Repeat on your other ear
- Continue this treatment for 3-4 days
This process will help soften the wax so that it can make its way out of your ears naturally.
Unsafe Earwax Removal Measures
Hear at Home does not recommend the use of traditional cotton swabs (Q-tips) as they can often push existing wax further into your ears.
At Hear at Home, we believe that monitoring and managing cerumen build-up is an integral part of anyone’s hearing healthcare journey. Please contact our office today should you have any questions surrounding earwax removal and/or management.