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Ear Wax Removal

Ear Wax Management

Ear wax, we all have it and usually we don’t even notice that we have it. Sometimes it can build up and become problematic, it can block our ears and in some cases, interfere with hearing aids. So, what is ear wax? Why do we have it? And what is the best way to manage ear wax when it becomes a problem?

Woman with hand to ear

What causes a build up of ear wax?

While ear wax usually comes out of our ears naturally, sometimes it can have trouble getting out, leading to a build-up of ear wax. While anyone can have a build up of ear wax from time to time, things that make this more likely include:

  • Having narrow or hairy ear canals
  • Skin conditions that affect the ears such as eczema
  • Regular use of headphones, earphones or earplugs
  • Regular use of hearing aids
  • Naturally producing harder ear wax

Symptoms of ear wax build up

Symptoms of too much, or problematic ear wax include:

  • A blocked feeling in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Pain or itching in the ear
  • Tinnitus (a ringing or other sound in the ears)
  • Balance issues including dizziness or vertigo
  • Blockage of equipment inserted into the ear canal such as ear buds or hearing aids
ear wax

Normal & Healthy

What is ear wax?

People often think of ear wax as being dirty, but it is perfectly normal and healthy to have ear wax. It is an oily based substance that has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. The earwax in your ears, usually also contains dead skin cells, hair, and dirt that the ear wax picks up as it works its way out of your ears. Ear wax plays an important part of keeping your ear clean by removing this debris. Ear wax also acts as a moisturiser to keep the skin in your ear canal lubricated so it doesn’t become dry and itchy.

How much ear wax is normal?

The amount of ear wax a person may have in their ears can vary depending on a person’s age, gender, ethnicity, ear health, diet and environment. A person who works in a dusty or dirty environment might produce more ear wax as the ear works to keep itself clean. Usually, the ear wax will simply work its way out of the ear on its own. You might occasionally notice some dried wax is coming out, or it might happen when you are asleep or in the shower, so you don’t notice. While there is not a ‘normal’ amount of ear wax to have, if it isn’t causing an issue, then it is fine.

How can ear wax be removed?

If wax isn’t causing any issues, it is best left alone, but if it becomes a problem, it can be removed. Ear wax removal can provide immediate relief for blocked ear canals, alleviating symptoms associated with problematic ear wax, such as hearing loss resulting from blockages in the ear canal.

Given you cannot see inside your own ears, it is not a good idea to attempt removing ear wax yourself. It is especially important not to poke anything in your ears to attempt to remove ear wax. This includes cotton tips, bobby pins or any other object.

It is not a good idea to attempt removing ear wax yourself.

It is best to have ear wax removed by a professional. At Noosa Hearing, as part of our comprehensive audiology services, we offer ear wax removal. Our audiologist can look inside your ears to determine the best method of removal which might include manual removal using a curette – where a small loop is used to scoop the wax out of the ear or micro-suction to remove the wax.

As part of our commitment to using state of the art equipment, Noosa Hearing uses micro-suction for wax removal. Micro-suction involves putting a small tube in the ear that suctions the wax out. It is a safe procedure when performed by trained professionals and allows the area affected by wax to be targeted. Most people report minimal discomfort when micro-suction is used to remove wax from their ears.

What to do if you think you have a build-up of wax?

Ear wax can cause major issues if it is blocking the ear canals, but those issues can be alleviated quickly with professional wax removal. At Noosa Hearing, our comprehensive audiology services include ear wax removal. If you have any concerns about your hearing or ear health, once the wax is removed, we can guide you as to what the next steps should be.

So, if you are concerned about your ear wax, contact Noosa Hearing today to make an appointment for ear wax removal – and squeaky clean ears!

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