How Do You Unblock an Ear Full of Wax?

Does your ear feel blocked? Are you turning the television up? Are you having trouble hearing your friends and family? Does one ear seem to hear better than another? All of these symptoms may be caused by an ear full of wax. And what’s more, sometimes an ear full of wax can make you feel off-balance, or even cause your ear to ache.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, a trip to your nearest Earworx microsuction clinic to have your ears cleaned professionally by our kind and gentle registered nurses may be just what you need. We certainly see patients every day in our Earworx clinics around Australia who arrive in discomfort and leave with symptom relief, feeling comfortable and hearing clearly.


Can I remove the wax myself, at home?

But is it necessary to get professional help? Is it likely that an ear full of wax will unblock itself? Is there anything you can do to remove the wax safely at home? These are all good questions, and ones we often hear in our Earworx clinics, but the best way to ensure that your delicate ear canals and ear drums are not damaged really IS to see a professional. We’ve certainly heard many stories of people using bobby pins / hair slides to attempt to clean their ears causing trauma to their ear canals and sometimes even perforating their ear drum!

Because you can’t see inside your ears, poking anything smaller than your elbow into your ears can cause discomfort at best, and damage at worst. In contrast, the nurses at Earworx look into your ears wearing magnifying glasses and a bright light so we can very clearly see your whole canal to safely and gently remove wax.

Isn’t there anything I can do at home?!

The only intervention which is safe for you to do at home is to use ear wax softening drops, but we suggest making an appointment at Earworx first, because if you have a large amount of wax, these drops may temporarily making the blockage worse wax which was hard and may have had gaps to allow noise to go through, is now soft. If you only have a small amount of wax, softening drops may give you some symptom relief, but don’t forget, because ear wax is part of healthy ear function, your body will keep producing more ear wax so you will likely need to see us at Earworx at some point in the future – why not come see us now rather than later!

What? My ear gradually fills up with wax?

Well, no, this is not the case for most people. Only 1 in 20 adults need professional interventions for an ear full of wax; everyone else’s ears are able to clean themselves. That’s right – our ears are self-cleaning. Cool right? So how does it work? Firstly, ear wax is good – it is made up of secretions from the oil and sweat glands, and it’s job is to catch dust, and dirt that may otherwise harm your delicate ear canals or ear drums and interfere with your hearing. Your wax actually works hard, catching anything that ventures into the ear, as well as shed hair (yes, our ears have hair inside of them as well – to stop dust getting in our ears). But your ear wax doesn’t just sit there, catching things. It is actually constantly being pushed out of the canal so fresh wax can replace it. This is done using the movement of our jaw from chewing and talking, which supports a conveyor belt motion of the skin in the ear canal, migrating the wax to the outer ear, where it either falls away unnoticed or can be gently wiped away.

Sometimes, however, this self-cleaning system is overwhelmed with too much wax, or too much dust, dirt and debris in the wax. Or the self-cleaning system doesn’t work because things like hearing aids, cotton buds, and ear plugs are being pushed into the canal, working against the flow of the wax and skin. Over time the wax can build up to the point where you are now – and you can end up with an ear full of wax (wax impaction).

Other things which cause an ear full of wax are:

  • Working in a dusty environment
  • Having a genetic disposition to produce more wax
  • Suffering from stress
  • Having naturally curvy, hairy or narrow ear canals

Here at Earworx we regularly see people with all sorts of reasons for an ear full of wax, including surfers or divers whose canals have narrowed due to exposure to cold wind or water, so it takes less wax to block their ears. You can be confident that we have seen it all at Earworx, and can help you no matter how much wax you have in your ears. Our highly trained and educated staff will be able to answer all of your ear health questions and give you advice on how to manage your ear wax build up going forward.

Microsuction, is that a tiny ear vacuum?

Yes! At Earworx clinics, a registered nurse who is highly trained and experienced will gently insert a tiny metal vacuum tip into your ear to remove the wax, just like a tiny vacuum cleaner. We explain everything before we start, and you can also talk through the whole procedure, letting your nurse know how you’re going and if you need a break or you have any questions. As mentioned before, the nurse will carefully monitor your ear canal and eardrum with special magnifying glasses which are fitted with a bright light. We can see all the way down the ear canal during the procedure, which is why it is so safe!

If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment at Earworx, feel free to contact our friendly team and we’ll be more than happy to help you with all your wax-related problems.