Feeling discomfort in your ears, or suddenly not being able to hear properly or hearing a ringing that shouldn’t be there, is no fun and can be due to some causes. One common cause is when earwax is blocking your ear canal, which may require earwax removal.
Why do we have earwax?
Earwax, which is also known by the term cerumen, is part of your ear’s natural cleaning mechanism. Your body produces earwax so it can work its way out of your ear canal thereby keeping it clean, lubricated, and disease free. When you move your jawbone, in addition to speaking or chewing food, you are stimulating the motion of fresh earwax out of your ear canal as part of this process. Talk about multitasking! So having wax occasionally coming out of your ear is entirely normal and not a cause for concern. Your ears would be dry, itchy, and more prone to infection without it. This means that normally there is no need to clean your ears routinely, and most health professionals recommend only cleaning your outer ear gently with a cloth, and never putting anything inside your ear canal.
You can do more harm than good
When it comes to what is the best way to clean your ears, medical professionals do not recommend putting Q-tips, also known as cotton swabs, or any other objects into your ear canal in an attempt to remove wax. Often this has the opposite effect, actually pushing wax deeper into the ear canal where it can become further impacted and potentially damage your ear. Your ear canal is sensitive, and you can harm it whenever you introduce anything into it.
What to do if you have impacted wax
Sometimes wax does build up instead of working its way out naturally, and this can become a problem as it hardens and becomes impacted. A home remedy you can try is to soften the wax with some wax softener, which is usually a product like mineral oil or baby oil. A few drops in the ear may soften the wax sufficiently that it works its way out. If this doesn’t fix the problem, it’s best to see a professional for the best way to clean out your ears. At Memorial Hearing, we can evaluate the problem by looking into your ear to see if there’s something more serious going on. If it’s just a bad case of impacted earwax, we can remove it properly and safely.