Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance produced by your body to protect and clean your ears. In most cases, ear wax slowly moves from the ear canal to the ear opening, where it dries up and falls out. However, sometimes it can build up and cause blockages, leading to discomfort, hearing problems, and even ear infections. In this article, we’ll explore how to effectively deal with ear wax blockage.
Identifying ear wax blockage
The first step in managing ear wax blockage is recognizing the symptoms. These can include:
- Reduced hearing
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Feeling of fullness in the ear
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to address the issue promptly.
What to do about ear wax blockage
Avoid inserting objects
One common mistake people make is trying to remove ear wax using cotton swabs or other objects. This can push the wax further into the ear canal and potentially damage your eardrum. Avoid inserting anything into your ear and resist the temptation to dig out the wax yourself.
Use over-the-counter ear drops
Over-the-counter ear drops can be effective in softening ear wax, making it easier for your body to expel naturally. Follow the instructions on the product label and consult with your pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns. Some people need to regularly use olive oil on a weekly basis to keep their ear wax constantly soft with a reduced chance of it causing blockage. The lifelong use of olive oil is safe. One or two drops every week is usually all that is required.
Consulting an ENT specialist
While most people don’t require frequent ear cleaning, those with narrow ear canals or specific skin conditions may face ear wax blockage issues. For such cases, applying warm olive oil weekly can help soften the ear wax and promote natural expulsion.
When at-home remedies fail, it’s crucial to consult a professional:
- General practitioners and nurse practitioners: They can safely remove ear wax using a method called syringing, involving the gentle flushing of warm water into the ear canal.
- Audiologists: some audiologists are trained to remove ear wax
- Nurses: some nurses are also trained to remove ear wax
- Ear surgeons: For more complex cases or when syringing isn’t effective, ear surgeons employ specialised tools, such as tiny vacuums, to delicately extract ear wax without harming the ear.
Attempting to remove ear wax yourself with objects like cotton swabs can lead to complications and should be avoided. Rely on trained professionals for safe and effective ear wax blockage treatment. Seeking professional help ensures clear hearing and prevents potential complications associated with untreated ear wax blockages.
Remember, your ear health is best maintained by experts who understand the delicate nature of the ear canal and can provide tailored solutions to address your specific needs. When in doubt or facing severe symptoms, seek professional help from an ear specialist like Mr Wale Olarinde at ENT Sheffield. By following these steps and taking preventative measures, you can ensure your ears remain healthy and free from blockages.