Have you ever had a change in your hearing and wondered what caused it? An excess of earwax can actually dramatically effect your hearing as well as cause symptoms. Today’s blog will be about impaction and the proper way to clean your ears.

Follow your doctor’s orders:

If you have followed your doctor’s recommendations so far, you haven’t been using cotton swabs to clean your ears yourself. It is not safe and can cause damage. If the little hairs inside your ears are damaged, hearing can be greatly affected. If you believe earwax is affecting your hearing, mention it to your doctor.

We will mention ways to safely clean your ears, what not to do, and when you must see your doctor for help. Cerumen, commonly referred to as earwax, is a self cleaning agent produced by the body. Earwax collects dirt, bacteria, and other debris that could negatively impact the ear.

Introduction to impaction:

Normally when a person moves their jaw during chewing and other jaw motions, the earwax makes its way out of the ears. Some people do not ever have to clean their ears. Through their natural jaw motions, the earwax will leave the ear naturally, never needing to be cleaned deeply.

For other people, wax can build up in the ear. When the earwax causes such hearing impairment, we call this impaction, as stated before. Patients that have impaction experience dizziness from the balance being thrown off. Others feel ringing in their ear or a fullness in the ear.

As vile as it sounds, an odor can even come from the ear along with the symptoms as well. Your body may have a strange reaction by wanting you to cough. And lastly, a patient may feel aching coming from the ear which is the most common sign that something is off with an ear or both ears.

Patients that wear hearing aids or ear plugs may be more susceptible to impaction. This is because the opening blocks earwax from naturally making its way out. Elderly adults and those with developmental disabilities have a higher risk of impaction. Additionally, patients may be more likely to have impaction if the shape of the ear canal hinders the earwax from naturally making its way out.

Best methods for ear wax removal:

The safest way to remove earwax is to visit a doctor and allow an experienced ENT to remove it properly. An ENT specialist will use a cerumen spoon, forceps, or suction device to remove the ear wax without causing damage. Some offices may even offer professional irrigation.

After receiving permission from an ENT specialist, choose one of the following safer methods for in-home earwax removal. Cotton swabs may actually push earwax deeper into the ear causing further irritation or hearing impairment. Only use cotton swabs on the outer areas of ears. Use a damp, warm wash cloth on the outer areas of the ear to remove any wax.

Try over-the-counter earwax softener. Drops usually have ingredients such as saline, baby oil, mineral oil, glycerin, peroxide, or hydrogen peroxide. Read the specific directions on the ear drops, then rinse or wipe. Call your doctor if symptoms of impaction continue.  For the best results, after the softener, use a syringe to irrigate your ears. This consists of gently rinsing out the ear canal using water or saline.

Possible complications:

Do not attempt any of the following if you have a compromised immune system, diabetes, hole in our eardrum, or ear tubes. Ear candles should also be avoided as you may burn skin or drip candle wax inside the ear.

Do not avoid treatment. A major blockage of wax can prevent doctors from examining your ear and reaching a diagnosis. Make an appointment today with Orlando ENT Hearing Center if you are experiencing any symptoms listed above. Stop by next week for more ways to prevent hearing loss.

Staff Writer

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