Sometimes people come to our clinic because they can’t hear well in one ear. They are often relieved when we have a look in their ears and discover they are just blocked with earwax. We have several methods of removing earwax at Highland Hearing Clinic:
- Suction: We use a vacuum to gently remove the wax from the ear canal. It’s more likely to be successful if you can soften the wax with oil before your appointment.
- Curette: This is a lighted scoop for removing earwax which is not too deep in the ear canal
- Earway Pro: This is a flexible spiral-shaped tool which draws wax out of the ear as it is rotated
- Do-It-Yourself Kits: If the wax is too hard and deep in your ear canal, we may suggest you purchase a kit to soften and syringe the wax at home yourself.
Your audiologist will know which method of wax removal is best for you.
Why do our ears produce wax?
Wax does have a purpose. People who don’t produce earwax tend to have dry, itchy ears. Earwax acts as a lubricant for our ears. For other parts of our body, dead skin cells get rubbed off by our clothes and any time that part of our skin is being touched or scratched. Since we should not be touching the inside of our ear canals, wax has a role of collecting dead skin cells and migrating this material to the opening of the canal where it can be removed or even fall out onto your pillow at night.
Should I try to remove wax from my ears?
Health professionals can often tell by looking in someone’s ear whether or not they use cotton tips in their ear canals. These round-ended tools tend to push the wax deeper in their ear canal farther than the wax is normally produced. This is especially likely if someone has a narrow ear canal. You are better off waiting for the wax to migrate naturally to the edge of the canal and remove it with a facecloth or baby fingernail. There is also the risk of damaging your ear with a cotton swab. If inserted too far down the ear canal, the eardrum can be perforated. We have also seen the cotton fall off the end of the cotton swab in the ear canal. Furthermore, people who routinely remove the wax from their ear canals can end up with dry itchy skin in their ears.
Is it OK to try ear candling?
According to Health Canada, ear candles have not been approved to be sold for the purpose of removing earwax.
If you feel like your ear is blocked, do not assume it is wax. Sudden onset hearing loss can be very serious and may require prompt treatment in order for it to be reversible. See your doctor or audiologist immediately to rule out possible sudden sensorineural hearing loss.