Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is naturally produced by glands in the ears to lubricate the ear canals and keep dust and debris from getting too far into the ear canal. In most cases, earwax clears itself by migrating out of the ear canal. However, there are cases where wax can accumulate quickly or be overproduced causing a partial or full blockage of your ear canal. If a blockage occurs, it may need to be removed to prevent further complications. This can be done at home or in our office depending on the size and severity of the blockage.
People commonly use cotton swabs to try and remove earwax or dislodge a blockage. This is not recommended as it can often cause more problems, because the swab may push the blockage further down into the ear canal, risking even more damage to the ear.
Cotton swabs themselves can also be accidentally inserted too far into the ear canal and can potentially damage your ear, including the possibility of rupturing your eardrum.
Ear candles are another method that people use, but it can be dangerous and not a safe method to use. Having a flame near your ear can cause injury to the eardrum, such as a burn on the eardrum or in the canal.
If the ear wax blockage is more significant, it may need to be removed in your doctor’s office. We typically use one of two methods to remove ear wax: curette and suction.
Curette removal involves our Audiologist manually removing excessive wax to clear the ear canal. A curette is a long, curved tool that is used to gently scrape cerumen from the ear canal, removing the blockage.
Should a curette not be enough, suction will be utilized. This method allows our Audiologist to grasp the wax via suction in order to safely and effectively remove the build up.
If you experience pain or discomfort as a result of ear wax, or suspect you have a blockage, it’s important that you contact us soon as possible to address the issue. Removing earwax doesn’t have to be painful and should bring you relief.