Everything you need to know about ear wax
A naturally occurring substance within the ear, ear wax (or Cerumen – as it’s scientifically named) is a primary part of all human ears.
What is Ear Wax?
Ear wax can commonly be mistaken for being unclean but it’s quite the opposite. Ear wax has the important function of keeping our ears clean – filtering out dust, and other substances such as shampoo – so that our inner ears are protected from infection.
Skin inside the ear is different from any other part of our body. Because of the anatomy of an ear canal, the removal of dead skin cells can be difficult – that’s where the self-cleaning properties of ear wax come in.
For some people, the way in which their ear wax works becomes disrupted, causing it to get trapped somewhere along the ear canal. For many, this is due to the anatomy of the ear canal.
In other instances, the introduction of a foreign body in the canal can cause disruption to the flow of ear wax.
Using cotton buds to “clean” the ears can cause ear wax to become impacted on the canal walls. When the ear creates more wax, the blockage slowly builds.
A build-up of ear wax can be uncomfortable but it is also associated with a loss of hearing and, on occasion, Tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in your head that doesn’t come from an outside source).
There are many high street remedies for softening ear wax in order to encourage the natural migration of wax from the canal.
If you’ve tried these remedies with little alleviation, it’s best to seek out a hearing professional as soon as you can to get the ear wax removed and your hearing health back to normal again.
How to clean your ears effectively.
It’s easy to think that using a cotton bud to clean both the internal and external parts of the ear is the right way to take care of them.
If you use cotton buds to clean the inside of your ears, there is an increased risk that you can cause damage to the canal or eardrum.
This damage can cause an infection or a perforated eardrum which can lead to discomfort or, in some cases, a hearing loss.
Making sure to not insert any foreign objects into your ears is a good way to prevent damage and to not disturb the naturally occurring cleaning environment within the ear.
So how can you effectively clean your ears without the use of a cotton bud?
Using a damp flannel to wash the external part of your ear (the part which you and other people can see) will keep your ears clean and healthy without causing any damage.
What to do if you have an ear wax build-up.
If you’ve tried home remedies to remove wax with little success, seeking out professional help can be really beneficial.
Whether you choose to go to your GP or a specialist, your ears will be in safe hands.
In most cases of excessive ear wax, ear irrigation will be recommended. Ear irrigation is a process that cleans out your ears, including any blocked wax.
What happens during an ear wax removal session?
Ear irrigation, or syringing, involves using a pressurised water flow to remove an ear wax build-up and restore any hearing that may have been lost.
The hearing professional may look inside your ear several times to check for more blockages and repeat the steps as needed.
If irrigation is unsuccessful, it is possible that your GP will refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist for further investigation.
“Have a question about ear wax or a related hearing loss? Why not pop in and see a Hearing Professional near you today? Book your appointment!”
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Tackling Common Misconceptions About Care at Home - March 20, 2018
- Do you buy free range eggs? - March 20, 2018
- Heart Heroes: Heart Valve Voice Speaks to Clinicians About their Favourite Patient Memories - March 19, 2018
- Fred. Olsen’s 2019 European River Cruising season - March 19, 2018
- Don’t let age be a barrier to your health and well-being - March 15, 2018
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!