FAQS on Ear Wax
We get many requests every week on wax removal procedures. Here are some FAQS if this is something you are looking to have done. We have a great team of hearing aid practitioners and audiologists that are trained to remove wax with several different methods.
Q. What are the different ways we can remove cerumen (ear wax)?
Ear Irrigation: This method involves using a hand held syringe or bottle (as seen below) to flush the impacted wax out of the ear canal using warm water. At Living Sounds, we use the wash system you see below as it uses less pressure than a syringe, making the procedure more comfortable.
Image taken from: http://www.elephantearwashsystem.com/
Manual Extraction: This method involves using a curette or forceps to remove the wax that can be either plastic or metal and some are even illuminated for better visibility inside the ear canal.
Image taken from: http://www.medline.com
Suction: Ear wax can also be removed using a suction method. This method is less common in the clinic as many suction systems are very loud so using the irrigation method or manual extraction may be preferred.
Image taken from: www.earwaxclinic.co.uk
Q. Which method will be used on me if I book at Living Sounds Hearing Centre?
At Living Sounds, we commonly use manual extraction and irrigation but there are many factors involved when we determine the right option for that individual before removing the wax. Firstly, we will do a quick case history to determine there are no present ear infections, no history or current perforations (hole) in the ear drums, ear surgery, etc. Futhermore, some medical conditions and medications may warrant one method over the other.
Q. Can’t I just use Q-tips or buy a wax removal system over the internet?
Q-tips are not recommended because you can risk puncturing your ear drum or pushing the wax down deeper towards the ear drum, making it more difficult to remove and potentially create more of a blockage.
It is recommended if you think you have wax build up to see your doctor or hearing health care provider to determine the right method to remove the wax and to confirm that your ears are indeed occluded. There are many products for removing wax on the internet but may not be safe to use.
Q. What about ear candling?
Ear candling is not recommended. It is not supported by the medical field and has not been proven to be effective. You can read more at https://www.audiology.org/news/ear-candles-and-candling-ineffective-and-dangerous
Q. Is it normal to have some ear wax?
Absolutely! Ear wax acts as a natural anti-bacterial substance and helps to keep bugs out and can trap dust and debris. So, a little bit of wax is a good thing.
Q. Can wax occlusion cause hearing loss?
Yes, if the canal is completely blocked with cerumen, then it can impair your hearing until the wax is removed.
Q. Why do some people produce more wax than others?
There can be both hereditary and environmental factors. For example working in hot, dusty environments can exacerbate rates of accumulation. Sometimes as we age, we can produce more wax.
Q. Are there risks involved with wax removal?
Yes, there are risks involved so it is important we go through your medical history with you before we proceed with the removal to ensure your safety. Some risks included a perforated eardrum, dizziness (vertigo), tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and failure to remove the wax. In the case we can’t remove the wax, we may forward you to your doctor or have you put in some wax softening drops and try again in a couple of days.
Danielle De Roose, BC-HIS
Registered Hearing Aid Practitioner
Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences