For the most part, earwax is a very healthy bodily function and can help to protect your delicate ears from infection by trapping the dirt and dust that could otherwise travel down the ear canal and damage the fragile inner ear mechanisms. However, sometimes ear wax builds up and becomes hard and impacted. When you have excess earwax that is stuck inside of the ear, it can impact your hearing.
How Does Earwax Cause Hearing Loss?
Excessive earwax can block the ear canal and may be caused by a number of different factors:
- Environment – If your home or workplace has a lot of dust floating around, your earwax needs to trap a lot more particles, which can lead to a build-up of wax
- Anatomy – If your ear canals are narrow, bendy, small or hairy you will be more prone to wax build-up
- Genetics – If excessive earwax production runs in your family, this can cause a predisposition to overproduce.
- Age – Elderly people are more prone to excessive earwax production and therefore wax impaction. This is because the self-cleaning mechanism doesn’t function as well as we get older and the oil glands that produce the wax begin to atrophy.
- Hearing Aids and Earphones – People who wear hearing aids or regularly wear earphones are more likely suffer from wax impaction as these devices prevent the self-cleaning mechanism.
How Can I Get Rid of a Blocked Ear?
Having a blocked ear can be very debilitating, especially when it’s impacting on your ability to hear.
If you want to safely and effectively cure your blocked ear, the safest at-home remedy is earwax softening drops, which help to loosen the impacted wax and allow the self-cleaning mechanism to work again. However, if you have particularly stubborn impacted wax, wax softening drops may not be enough to remove it. That is when you should seek professional help. Do not use ear drops if you have a hole in your ear drum or grommets, seek medical advice from your GP.
Seeking Professional Help
The safest and most reliable method for removing earwax blockages is micro-suction and curettage, the method endorsed by Ears Nose and Throat specialists.
The process involves a combination of fine instruments and microsuction to safely remove the wax blockage.. Much like a mini-vacuum cleaner, micro-suction gently sucks the wax out of your ear without touching the ear canal or eardrum itself. Experienced Registered Nurses undertake and observe the procedure by wearing ‘loupes’ which are converged binocular lenses fitted with a light.
Unlike other wax removal techniques, microsuction completely removes any wax that has built-up. When impacted wax isn’t properly removed, which may happen using softening drops alone or even from ear syringing, it is able to build up again very quickly. Microsuction, is a safe, gentle and dry technique and can be used for those with compromised immune systems.
Appointments for Ear Wax Blocking Hearing
For more information click here to view or download the Earworx brochure.