Ear wax, otherwise known as cerumen, is naturally produced by the glands in the ears to lubricate the ear canals and keep dust and debris from getting too far down in the ear canal.
While ear wax typically clears itself out, sometimes cerumen accumulates, causing a blockage. This is especially the case if you wear earmolds or hearing aids.
Symptoms of a cerumen blockage include:
If a blockage occurs, you want to get it removed. You can do this at home or at our SoundGate office, depending on the size and severity of the blockage.
At-Home Ear Wax Removal
Sometimes, we send patients home with an at-home earwax removal kit. You can also buy them over-the-counter at most drug stores.
These kits contain a small rubber bulb syringe and earwax softening solution. A few things to note:
- You’ll receive specific directions on how much and how often to apply the liquid to your ear canals, allowing it to sit in your ears for a short amount of time to soften earwax.
- Bubbling and fizzing sensations in your ears are normal with use.
- Then, use the bulb syringe to gently flush your ears with warm (not hot) water.
- It may take several days to completely clear earwax blockages from your ear.
- There are contraindications to using these kits in some people (and with some ear conditions).
Before attempting at-home earwax removal, speak with your hearing care provider to ensure it is safe.
Earwax Removal Methods To Avoid
People commonly use cotton swabs to try and remove earwax or dislodge a blockage. However, this often causes more problems! Cotton swabs may push the blockage further down into the ear canal, risking damage to the ear.
Cotton swabs can also be accidentally inserted too far into the ear canal, further compacting wax or puncturing your eardrum.
Physicians generally agree that cotton swabs are a bad idea for removing earwax and should only be used on the outer portions of your ear. Never insert cotton swabs or small objects into your ear canal.
Ear Wax Removal Clinic
If you have significant earwax blockage, schedule an appointment. Our SoundGate hearing specialists typically use one of two methods for earwax removal: ear irrigation or curettage.
Ear irrigation is the most common method to remove blockages in office. Unlike at-home earwax removal kits, your hearing professional may use stronger earwax removal medications, such as carbamide peroxide, in conjunction with irrigation.
The less common method is curettage, which involves a long, curved tool (a curette) that may also be used with suction to remove cerumen from the ear canal.
Come See Us!
If you experience pain or discomfort from earwax or suspect you have a blockage, come into SoundGate to address the issue. Ear wax removal doesn’t have to be painful— it should bring you relief.