You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t use cotton swabs to clean out your ears, but what if they become blocked? Earwax, otherwise known as cerumen, is a thick substance your ear produces in order to clean itself. It generally moves outward toward the ear canal from the movement of your jaw when talking or chewing. Sometimes the ear produces too much wax or something prevents it from moving out, producing a blockage in the ear canal. This can be especially common in older people, those who wear hearing aids, or people with developmental disabilities.
Symptoms of Earwax Blockage
When the earwax is built up to the point of blocking the ear canal, this is called impaction. The symptoms of impaction can include:
- A ringing or fullness in the ear
- Impaired hearing
- An earache or sharp pains in the ear
- Dizziness or coughing
- A bad odor that comes from the affected ear
Ways to Remove Impaction
The safest way to remove excess earwax is to let a doctor do it. Doctors have special instruments specifically designed to remove earwax blockage. If you choose to try removing it at home, stay with proven, safe methods so you don’t make the condition worse.
Start by wiping the inside of your ear with a warm, damp cloth. This will remove any wax that’s built up around the outside of the ear canal.
Use an over-the-counter earwax removal kit. These kits include softening agents that help the wax to move out of your ear. They can contain baby oil, glycerine, hydrogen peroxide, or saline solution. Follow the directions on the kit by putting the correct number of drops in the affected ear, then waiting the correct amount of time. Tip your head over to allow the ear to drain.
One additional method is to rinse out your ear canal using a syringe. This must be done very gently and is best done after using softening agents. Warm the solution to body temperature to prevent dizziness or pain during the process.
Earwax and Hearing Aids
Your hearing aids contain a wax guard that helps to prevent wax from getting into the electronics. Earwax is one of the most common reasons for hearing aid failure, so it’s important that you clean the wax guard regularly. Wipe them with a clean, dry cloth, use the provided brush to remove wax, and replace the wax filter when needed.
Home care is good in a pinch, but professional cleaning is best for keeping your hearing aids in working order. If you think you might have hearing loss and could benefit from hearing correction, call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™ today at 772-286-4327 and schedule your FREE comprehensive hearing evaluation with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.