Do You Need an Earwax Removal Appointment?

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Have your ears been feeling like they are clogged or full? Or has your hearing sounded muffled or mumbled?

If your ears feel blocked up and you haven’t been swimming lately, the likely culprit is a buildup of earwax. A natural response is to try and remove it yourself, but please read these tips first to ensure you remove it safely and know when to schedule an earwax removal appointment with an expert.

What Is Earwax?

Earwax, or cerumen, is created by the ceruminous and sebaceous glands in the outer one third of your ear canal. It helps to protect, lubricate, and clean the ear.

As earwax migrates out of your ear, it takes with it dead skin, hair particles, and any debris, dust, or microbes that are in the canal, thus preventing dirt and bacteria from reaching the eardrum.

While most of the time earwax is helpful, built-up and impacted earwax can be challenging. It can cause temporary hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, and balance issues.

Although earwax can cause temporary hearing loss, this will be recovered after the earwax is removed.

Should You Attempt To Remove Earwax at Home?

If you are having ear pain or have a history of ear surgery or perforations of the eardrum, wax removal should not be attempted at home. Usually, by the time you notice an earwax buildup, it’s too late to remedy it with at-home treatments.

We offer earwax removal at South Shore Hearing Center, so if you cannot safely remove it at home, book an appointment and we’ll have you in and out in no time.

Top 3 Ways To Clean Out Earwax

There are some dos and don’ts for attempting earwax removal at home.

If you are going to attempt wax removal at home, you should do it most safely. If your blockage has progressed past a mild stage, at-home methods might not be effective.

#1 Eardrops

These can be bought at any retail store or online, such as Debrox, along with flushing the ear to attempt removal. Drops work to soften the earwax enough, so it eventually falls out.

#2 Olive Oil

Olive oil works in the same way as eardrops to soften the earwax. So it’s relatively safe and straightforward if you don’t have allergies to olive oil or a damaged eardrum.

#3 Professional Cleanout

If the first two methods above aren’t successful, this would be an excellent time to schedule an earwax removal appointment.

 We have professional equipment at our South Shore centers, such as the Earigator and Head Loop, and we can also use a scoop for manual removal.

NOTE: You should never try ear candling, as there is considerable danger to putting fire near your hair or face, and there is no proof this method works.

Are Cotton Swabs Safe For Earwax Removal?

Cotton swabs are not safe for earwax removal. Please don’t put any tools or Q-tips in your ears.

You will even see right on the side of the cotton swab box “Do not insert swab into ear canal.” Not only can they push the wax in deeper, but they can also be rough to the ear canal and cause cuts or abrasions and in some instances, perforate eardrums.

Earwax buildup is most commonly caused by people trying to clean their ears on their own with a Q-tip or something that goes in the ear. This ends up pushing the wax deeper into the canal and impacting it.

Cotton swabs can also stimulate the ceruminous and sebaceous glands in your ear canal, causing them to produce more cerumen.

Do Some People Have More Earwax Than Others?

Yes, some people produce minimal to no earwax and others produce large quantities of it.

Although some are straighter than others, all ear canals have two “bends” within them, and sometimes if the bend is sharp, wax accumulates at the bend in the canal.

Some hearing aid users may also notice an increase in wax buildup. Wax is naturally supposed to migrate out of the ear, but when a hearing aid is in the ear for many hours each day, sometimes the earwax accumulates in the hearing aid itself or in the canal.

This is also why routine cleaning of hearing aids and maintenance is important. Read about how to clean your hearing aids here.

Other Causes of Clogged Ears

People may experience the feeling of a clogged ear due to other issues such as their ears not “popping” after a change in altitude or an ear infection or other ear disorder.

If it persists, they should see their audiologist, ENT doctor, or primary care doctor to evaluate the cause.

Schedule an Earwax Removal Appointment

If you have a moderate case of earwax build-up that has not cleared up using safe at-home remedies, please schedule an earwax removal appointment with a professional.

Our team of 6 doctors of audiology at South Shore Hearing Center has collectively helped tens of thousands of patients over the past 34 years, with many of those requiring help with earwax buildup.

With offices in Hanover and South Weymouth, you can pick the location most convenient to you for a visit. Book an earwax removal or email or call with any questions.

Or book a hearing test with us at the same time as the earwax removal, and we’ll do a physical examination of your ear and check your hearing to see what’s going on. We’ll know immediately what’s causing the mumbling sounds and be able to suggest a remedy.

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Alicia L. O'Sullivan, Au.D.

Alicia grew up in Abington, Massachusetts and went to Abington High School. She went to Bridgewater State College for her bachelor’s degree in special education, concentrating in communication disorders, before finishing her education at the University of Connecticut for her Au.D. With a genetic predisposition to hearing loss, Alicia has been getting her hearing tested since childhood. As someone who is aware of the side effects of hearing loss firsthand, she was initially interested in working in special education. However, due to her history of hearing loss, she soon fell in love with the science of audiology.

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