If you’ve noticed that your ears feel full and your hearing is duller than it used to be, earwax could be to blame.
Everyone has earwax, also known as cerumen, and everyone needs it. It protects and lubricates your ear canal, stopping dust, water and anything else damaging from getting in. Without earwax, your ears, and hearing, would quickly become damaged.
But you can have too much of a good thing, and too much earwax can lead to mild deafness, a feeling of fullness in your ear, ringing in your ear, or an earache. If you wear hearing aids, the wax build-up can cause your hearing aid to whistle.
How much earwax should you have?
Everyone produces different amounts of earwax. If it’s not causing hearing loss or pain, then you probably don’t have too much (though always get it checked out if you’re worried.)
Earwax is produced in the outer part of your ear canal and naturally moves out of your ears as they clean themselves. This leads to the gunk that you might be able to see outside your ear. It could be sticky and yellow-brown in colour, or it might be dry and grey. Either is completely normal.
If you can see earwax outside your ear, that’s a good thing. It means your ears are doing their job of cleaning out old and excess wax. Simply clean away any wax you can see outside your ears, and leave the wax inside your ear to do its job.
When should you worry about earwax?
Wax becomes a problem if it can’t make its way out of your ear. If there is wax stuck in your ear, this could be because you have narrow or bendy ear canals, or because your body has started to produce too much wax and your ears can’t clean it out fast enough.
When this happens, many people reach for the cotton buds. Never do this – it will just push the wax further in and compact it, potentially damaging your ear and hearing.
What can you do about earwax?
- Use wax-softening drops or oil twice a week (or according to the instructions on the box).
- Limit ear cleaning to the outer ear only.
- Treat any associated inflammatory skin conditions.
- Get excess wax removed professionally.
If your ears are blocked with wax and you’re experiencing pain or hearing loss as a result, then we recommend you get the wax removed. Wax softening drops can be very helpful, but they aren’t always able to work through particularly troublesome wax.
How we can help you with earwax
We specialise in wax removal at Hearing & Audiology.
We use advanced methods of micro-suction as well as manual extraction using specialised instruments to safely remove wax from your ears. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to book your wax removal appointment.