Impacted ear wax can cause many uncomfortable symptoms. If you feel as though you have an ear wax blockage it can be tempting to reach for a cotton bud or other objects in an attempt to clear the ear.
Unfortunately, some of these at home ear wax removal techniques (such as ear candling) may be dangerous and ineffective. They may push the wax further into the ear, worsening the impaction and may damage the delicate eardrum and canal.
Causes and Symptoms of Impacted Ear Wax
Impacted Ear Wax can be caused by multiple different factors. These include:
- The use of cotton tips and other items to remove superficial wax
- Wearing hearing aids, or using earplugs frequently
- Working in a dusty or dirty environment
- Genetics – some people overproduce earwax
- Having narrow, bendy or hairy ear canals
- Surfing or swimming in cold water
If you notice any of the following, you could be suffering from impacted ear wax and blocked ears:
- Sensation of fullness
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
- Discharge from the ear
- Complete occlusion of the ear with wax can also cause significant hearing loss, as the wax makes it difficult for sound to travel down the canal to the eardrum.
- Dizziness: Our balance is intimately connected to our inner-ears, so if they are impacted we may begin to feel dizzy.
Impacted Ear Wax Treatment
In order to treat blocked ears and remove impacted ear wax there are a variety of methods available. Not all home remedies are safe. Earworx recommends using softening drops at home (do not use these if you have a hole in the ear drum) or wax removal by a trained professional using micro-suction.
Before we discuss removal methods, there are some instances in which you need to seek medical attention right away:
- Bleeding from the ear
- Sudden hearing loss. This is a medical emergency and you should seek help as soon as possible
- You are suffering from pain that you are not sure is wax related
In all other cases, you should seek the advice of an earwax removal expert. Earworx Registered Nurses will examine your ears to establish if you’re suffering from an earwax blockage, and whether wax removal may be of benefit. Earwax that is not preventing assessment of the ear or producing symptoms should be left alone.
An Earworx appointment will consist of the following steps:
- An examination of your ear canal will be conducted using a speculum. Your Registered Nurse will wear ‘loupes’, which are special magnified glasses fitted with a bright light to allow a thorough examination of the ear canals
- A recommendation for wax removal may or may not be made depending on the clinical indicators
- Small instruments, including forceps, curettes, and a gentle micro-suction device may then be used to removal built up wax
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For more information click here to view or download the Earworx brochure.