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  • Writer's pictureWigan Hearing


What is ear wax?

Ear wax is a natural mix of secretions and dead skin found in the ear. It is not a bad thing; it helps to protect the ear against dust, dirt and bacteria. Ear wax is made up of skin cells, dust and oily secretions from the sebaceous and ceruminous glands in the ear canal. The secretions lubricate the ear canal and prevent it from becoming too dry. Your ear wax is probably not the same as someone else's! The makeup of ear wax changes from person to person based on diet, age and race. 

What can cause earwax buildup?

Some people just suffer from regularly blocked ears. It can be simply that they overproduce ear wax naturally. Causes of earwax buildup can be

overproduction of ear wax, narrow ear canals, hairy ear canals (it's like a jungle in there!), dry earwax, (not much moisture in the secretion as you get older), swimmers ear, bony growths in the ear canal can block the progress of ear wax. A tight or hard ear canal bend, you keep putting damned cotton buds in your ear! (nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear)! Wearing hearing aids (sometimes can cause ear wax build up)Wearing in-ear headphones (same as above)

Symptoms of ear wax build up

Earache, as it builds up, it can press against the ear canal causing pain, yes ear wax can cause discomfort !Hearing loss, it can deliver to you the gift of hearing loss, especially if you have just gone swimming or had a shower, itchiness in the ear (can be caused by other things though like dry skin)Dizziness, a spinning sensation, tinnitus, surprisingly enough it can give you a sense of buzzing or ringing in the affected ear

What can you do about ear wax build up?

If ear wax isn't causing you problems, leave it alone. The ear is self-cleaning and once the process is not interrupted the wax should drop out. Sometimes though, probably because you have been fiddling with it, ear wax may build up in the canal. Generally, once the build-up starts, it will just continue unless it is washed out. Eventually, the ear wax plug will grow to fill the ear canal. 

This is when you start to have problems. Usually, the first indication of it for you is when water gets into the ear during swimming or showering. This often causes the ear wax to swell. This blocks the ear canal, and you know about it immediately. If the wax build-up has got to the stage where it is causing deafness, problems with hearing aids (usually whistling), or is uncomfortable, it needs to be removed.

There are several types of ear drops that you can use to loosen and soften ear wax. The solutions can include olive oil, almond oil, bicarbonate of soda and hydrogen peroxide. Here is the thing, they might not be suitable for you. If you have had a perforation of your eardrum in the past, ear drops aren't a good idea. 

Can you remove ear wax at home?

There are oils and sprays available to loosen built up or impacted ear wax. They can work, but you need to follow the instructions very carefully. Don't mess around with your ear canal. Both it and your eardrum are sensitive; if you damage your eardrum, there may be long-term consequences for your hearing. 

Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Earwax?

Yes, you can, but you need to be very careful with it. You need to use diluted hydrogen peroxide and follow the instructions. There are home remedies where you can use hydrogen peroxide mixed with water to clean ear wax, don't do it! The proper solution needs to be 3 to 4% hydrogen peroxide, why bother trying to measure it out when you can buy the drops over the counter.

The Best Way To Use Ear Wax Removal Drops

Ear wax removal drops very rarely remove the ear wax. Most drops are oil based, and all they will do is soften the ear wax. If you are going for professional ear wax removal, well then softening the ear wax is a good idea. So how should they be used?

You are better off trying to get an ear wax oil that has a spray top, spraying the oil into your ear a couple of times makes sure that the entire wax plug gets coated in oil. This ensures that it all gets a chance to soak up the oil and soften. 

If you can't get a spray bottle, then you need to make sure that the drops come into contact with the wax plug. That means lying on your side and dropping a couple of drops into your ear. The oil needs to maintain contact with the wax plug, so you need to rest there for about ten to fifteen minutes. As I said, the spray type is a lot easier, and you can give your ears a couple of sprays throughout the day. 

Why you should have your ear cleaned professionally

Simply put, your ear canal is delicate as is your eardrum, if you make the mistake of putting anything in your ear, you run the risk of damaging either or both. Many people every year burst or perforate their eardrum by sticking all sort of implements in there, usually cotton buds. They are called cotton buds, not earbuds; they are designed for babies noses, not ears. Please don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.

You should not try to use cotton buds to remove earwax from your ear canal, all it will do is push it towards the eardrum. It can cause you, even more, problems and make it more difficult to remove. Leave earwax removal to a qualified specialist who can see what he or she is doing.

I think you should always use earwax softening drops for four or five days before an appointment no matter what procedure it is. Icky gooey earwax is easier to remove which means easier for you as well. Try and get a spray type oil instead of the usual drops, it coats the wax and the canal without having to lie still for twenty minutes.  

What's the best form of ear cleaning?

It depends really, I think irrigation is amazing. It washes everything out of the ear canal and leaves it sparkly clean. However, it's not suitable for everyone. For instance, if you have a perforation of your eardrum or if you have had major surgical work done on your middle ear and mastoid, well then irrigation isn't really for you. Many people think micro-suction is excellent as a form of ear wax removal. There is no mess and little fuss. Again though, there are things you need to think about before getting it done.

Do Hopi Ear Candles Remove Ear Wax?

Hopi ear candling seems to have become quite popular again, but not only do they not work, but they are also dangerous.

Earwax blockage symptoms

There are a few symptoms that you may feel if you are suffering from earwax blockage of your ear canal. 

a feeling of fullness in the ear

the sensation of hearing everything muffled

mild tinnitus

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then you should have your ear canal or canals checked.

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