Posted on July 19, 2016
What are the facts?
Fact – Ear wax is a naturally occurring substance that cleans, protects, and lubricates the external ear canal.
The lining of the outer third of the canal contains both wax secreting glands and hair follicles.
Ear wax forms in the outer third of the ear canal and is a mixture of wax and exfoliated skin.
Normally, ear wax is eliminated or expelled by a self-cleaning mechanism, which causes it to migrate out of the ear canal, assisted by jaw movement.
Accumulation of ear wax is caused by:
- Failure of the self cleaning mechanism
- Wax being pushed further down the canal
- Hearing aid use
- Excessive production of wax due to diet
- Hereditary and stress factors
- Abnormal canal anatomy such as narrowing.
Accumulation of ear wax is one of the most common reasons that patients seek medical care for ear related problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Accumulation
Fact – Pain, itching, sensation of fullness, tinnitus, odor, drainage, cough, and dizziness have all been reported, and complete occlusion can result in significant hearing loss.
Hearing loss can range from 5 to 40 decibels depending on the degree of occlusion of the canal with ear wax.
While ear wax impaction may be asymptomatic in some cases, management may be necessary for diagnostic purposes so that the ear canal and ear drum can be visualised or diagnostic assessment can be performed.
The hearing loss associated with ear wax impaction may impair cognitive function.
Fact – Research shows up to 35% of adults and 10% of children suffer from muffled hearing or hearing loss, discomfort and a blocked sensation simply from a build up of ear wax.
What to do About Accumulation
There are several methods available for clearing ear wax. These include self removal methods such as using commercially available irrigation kits, softeners, and ear candles; and methods provided by a trained Health Professional such as irrigation, curettage and micro-suction.
Fact – Experts recommend that professional removal of ear wax via micro-suction is the most effective, comfortable and safe method.
Where to go for Professional Ear Wax Removal
- Your GP generally will provide irrigation of ear wax via syringing.
- ENT surgeons provide ear wax removal by curettage and suction techniques.
- Clear Ears also provides ear wax removal by curettage and suction techniques performed by registered nurses who hold specific qualifications in Aural Care (Ear Care), curettage and suction techniques.
For further information on the micro suction technique visit what we do
For further information on Ear Wax visit http://www.eyeandear.org.au/page/Health_Professionals/Clinical_Resources/