Our expert audiologists are ENT-trained and have a number of ways of removing troublesome earwax.
Earwax removal can be a simple strategy that will improve your daily life and relationships for those with impacted or clogged ears. Read on to hear all about the sticky subject of wax and ear care.
What is earwax?
Earwax is a yellowy-brown substance produced naturally in the ear. For many people, earwax does not cause any complications. However, earwax build-up can lead to many symptoms.
Why does the body produce wax?
Although the exact function of wax is not fully understood, it is believed to play a role in the cleanliness, hygiene and overall health of the ear; trapping dirt and lubricating the ear canal.
Why does earwax build up?
The amount of wax secreted can significantly vary between individuals; one ear can produce more wax than the other ear. For some people, wax can build up inside the ear canal due to a number of reasons:
- The skin lining of the ear canal no longer sheds effectively and traps wax inside the ear
- Due to hereditary bends or narrowness deep inside the ear canal or chronic ear infections
- Using cotton buds or regular wearing of hearing aids, earbuds and earplugs can push the wax deep inside the ear
- Tiny hairs (cilia) inside the ear canal become entangled with the wax preventing it from leaving the ear
- The glands in the skin lining the ear canal are hyperactive and secrete more wax than normal
- The presence of hard and dry wax, which is more common in older people, becomes impacted and lodged inside the ear canal
How do I know if I have earwax?
If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms below, they may be an indicator of impacted, excessive or dry earwax. While some signs are shared with broader hearing loss, many are specific to an earwax related cause. If left to build up, earwax can cause these symptoms:
Earache or Irritation
If you’ve pain, itchiness or irritation, it’s possible this is caused by earwax. Wax that is impacted (especially dry wax) will rub against the side of the ear canal upon any jaw movements, likely causing some discomfort.
Conductive Hearing Loss
The sensation of a blocked ear. Wax restricts sound waves from travelling efficiently through the ear canal and vibrating against the eardrum, resulting in some degree of hearing loss.
Internal sounds such as chewing, breathing, heartbeat and even your own voice can no longer escape out of the ear and are heard much louder inside your head.
Tinnitus is a ringing/whistling/buzzing type of sound that originates from inside your ear and can only be heard by you – not anyone else around you. Read more information about tinnitus here.
An increase in air pressure due to the wax inside the ear canal can inadvertently stimulate the organ of balance, located inside the inner ear, causing vertigo.
Similar to vertigo, an increase in air pressure due to the wax inside the ear canal can inadvertently stimulate the facial nerve, located inside the middle ear, causing you to cough.
Whistling Hearing Aid
If you hearing whistling sounds when wearing your hearing aids or find that sounds are amplified and reflected back out of the ear, it could be due to wax.
Book your free hearing check to take the first steps to hear clearly again.
Earwax Removal Techniques
If you’re finding earwax to be problematic, following an inspection, we can remove it. Our audiologists are ENT-trained to offer safe, endoscopic earwax treatments for adults and children. The techniques are as gentle as they are effective, so there’s no need to worry. Once the wax is removed, there is often instant relief from symptoms.
We use professional ear-clearing equipment, such as a Video otoscope, to clear earwax. The consistency of your earwax will determine which of the procedures below we will use.
Our state-of-the-art video otoscopy equipment is used to directly visualise the earwax whilst it is being removed. Removal is done by way of gentle suction, with a low-pressure suction machine and fine, sterile probe.
Ear irrigation replaces the old-fashioned technique of ear syringing, using an irrigation device to remove earwax. With irrigation, we never want to squirt water directly into the ear, as is the case with syringing. The irrigation introduces water into the ear via a specially adapted earpiece, allowing the water to flush the wax out safely.
Using the same state-of-the-art video otoscopy equipment to directly visualise the wax in your ear, we can safely remove the build-up with ENT micro-instruments, such as the ear hook or Jobson Horne.
Book an appointment today, or call to arrange paediatric treatment.
The cost for this service is £80. This includes the removal of ear wax from one or both ears and a hearing screening.