The right amount of earwax is essential to cleaning and protecting your ears. However, sometimes earwax can build up in the ear and cause problems like earaches, ear infections and even temporary hearing loss.
Removing Earwax at Home
If you have earwax buildup, you may be tempted to try and clean your ears with a cotton swab. However, this can actually push earwax deeper into your ear canal and cause serious damage to the lining of your ear canal or eardrum. It’s important to remember never to stick any object into your ear when trying to remove earwax.
Instead, you can allow a few drops of water to enter the ear while showering before tilting your head and gently rinsing it out. Just ensure you don’t let the water forcefully enter your ear canal, as this could trap water in the ear.
Another option is to purchase an over-the-counter earwax removal kit at New Liberty Pharmacy or another local store.
When to Visit Your ENT Specialist for Earwax Buildup
The safest way to remove earwax is to visit an ENT specialist. If you are experiencing ear pressure, fullness, pain, a ringing in the ear (tinnitus), or difficulty hearing, make an appointment to get checked out.
Your provider will look into your ear to check for blockage and, if any is found, may use several different methods to remove it, including:
- Using a small, curved instrument called a curet
- Using suction techniques
- Flushing out the wax using a syringe with warm water and saline or diluted hydrogen peroxide
- Prescribing medicated ear drops to soften earwax
Hearing Aids Can Make Earwax Buildup More Likely
If you are a hearing aid user, earwax buildup may be a recurring problem. That is because having a foreign object (such as a hearing aid) in your ear increases the likelihood of earwax buildup and increases earwax production.
If you wear hearing aids or experience recurring episodes of buildup for other reasons, you may need to schedule appointments with your provider every six months to a year for regular cleanings.
For more information on how to manage earwax buildup or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, contact Pinnacle ENT today.