What is ear wax?
Ear wax is a natural mix of secretions and dead skin found in the ear. It is a bad thing…noooo, it helps to protect the ear against dust, dirt and bacteria. Ear wax (Cerumen to be official!) 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 becoming too dry.
What can cause ear wax buildup?
Some people just suffer from regularly blocked ears.
- Overproduction of ear wax
- Narrow ear canals
- Hairy ear canals
- 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 an ear wax build up
You are deaf, deaf I tell you!!!! Well, no actually, you might not be. But it is one symptom that can show up. Here are all the symptoms of hearing loss:
- Earache, as it builds up it can press against the ear canal causing pain, yes ear wax can cause pain!
- 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 earwax isn’t causing you problems, just leave it alone. The ear (that amazing thing) is self-cleaning and once the process is not interrupted the wax should just drop out. Sometimes though, probably because you have been fiddling with it, ear wax may build up in the canal. Normally 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 usually 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, 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 drops 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?
No.Don’t mess around with your ear canal. Both ear canal and your eardrum are sensitive, if you damage your eardrum, there may be long-term consequences for your hearing. Leave it to the professional to do it…
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 clearly see what he or she is doing.
It is best to 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.
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.
This amazing read presented to you by ‘ My Audiologist’- Raji Parangad ….www.myaud.com.au.
Phone 61 7 34465845