Ear Health and Wax Removal
As a busy Audiologist with over 26 years’ experience and running Lakeland Hearing a private hearing clinic, I have seen a lot of ears and a lot of ear wax. One of the most common questions asked is “How can I get rid of wax?”.
Well, a healthy ear does produce wax and for good reason; wax traps and dust or dirt that might get down into the ear and damage it, and it is slightly antibacterial, it helps keep the ear healthy. So we don’t always want to get rid of it. Left to itself, the ear will naturally clean itself.
However, when wax builds up to a level that it is blocking our hearing and causing discomfort, or getting in the way of wearing a hearing aid properly, it does need to be removed, but how?
Do you remember the saying “Never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear”? A lot of the problems with wax come from too much or the wrong type of cleaning. Pushing anything into our ears often pushes the wax further down making the problem worse, so that rules out cotton buds, hair grips, keys, end of combs – yes I’ve seen it all!
The first type of treatment with a small amount of too much wax is to use drops. Normal olive oil [just a little, you’re not making a salad!] often softens the wax enough to allow it come out by itself.
But, if you wear a hearing aid, you don’t want an oily, waxy ear as that could block the hearing aid and stop it working that means you may need your ears cleaning out more regularily.
In the past, the most common way to get rid of too much wax was to have them syringed, where warm water is carefully rinsed into the ear canal and washes the wax out. I do use this method when it’s the right choice.
A more modern, safer and effective new way of removing wax is with a tiny suction device that gently vacuums up the wax, without the need for water. This is precise and is safe for people who can’t have their ears washed out [syringed] perhaps because of a perforated ear drum.
Another common question is “How often should I get my ears cleaned?”. Again, that depends on you. For some people it’s every 9 months, others go years, and for some lucky souls, they never need it doing. But when it does need doing and once your ears are wax free and ‘squeaky clean’, the benefit can be dramatic, suddenly the world becomes a noisy place again.
Find out more: Ear Syringing and Wax Removal