The facts about ear wax

23 September
If you’ve experienced slight hearing loss or discomfort it could well be down to a build-up of ear wax and although heading to your GP may feel like the best way to get it sorted, it may be better to visit your nearest Bayfields Audiologist. Read on to find out why!

Ear wax, if you weren’t sure, is actually a good thing: it protects your ear canal and eardrum, keeping them moist and trapping dirt and germs. However, there are a number of common instances where ear wax can become built-up, causing discomfort and affecting the quality of your hearing. 

Here’s an overview of when this commonly happens, what the signs are, and the best ways to remedy it.

Common reasons for ear wax build-up:

  • Naturally producing a little too much. Some of us just produce more!
  • Having narrow ear canals can lead to issues arising more easily. 
  • Wearing in-ear equipment. People who wear hearing aids, earplugs or in-ear headphones are likely to produce more ear wax. 
  • Getting older. It’s just one of those things that comes with age, our ear wax tends to become harder, and more uncomfortable, which can cause complications.

Common symptoms:

The most common sign of ear wax build-up is hearing loss, but you may also experience:
  • blocked ears
  • ear discomfort
  • a feeling of fullness in the ear
  • earache
  • tinnitus (hearing a ringing, whooshing, humming or buzzing sound)
  • itchiness
  • irritation of the ear canal leading to a cough.

Removing ear wax safely:

At Bayfields Audiology we offer gentle microsuction removal, one of the safest and most comfortable procedures available for removing ear wax.

The procedure removes any excess cleanly and safely without causing any damage to the sensitive ear canal and ear drum.

Before your procedure we’ll ask you to soften your ear wax with drops for a week before you come in, to make the procedure quicker and more comfortable for you. 

If you’re unsure whether you may have a wax blockage or build-up, we can offer you a 15-minute Hearing Health Check where our Audiologist will be able to check the health of your ear canals. 

Book now, here.

Can I just remove the ear wax myself?

In a word, no! Most GPs no longer do ear wax removal, but you should still be treated by a professional like a Bayfields Audiologist. You could do significant and even irreversible damage if you poke things into your ear canals, and it’s especially important to leave children’s more sensitive ear canals alone.

Do I have to have the microsuction procedure?

We only remove ear wax using this method as it is much safer and causes less irritation to the inner ear. 

Traditionally, ear wax is removed by ‘syringing’, which means water is forced into your ear canal to clear the wax. Here’s why modern microsuction is better: 
  • It isn’t messy, like water.
  • It’s much safer than syringing. Water irrigation can lead to bleeding and soreness from bruising or a resulting infection. When it goes badly wrong, syringing can perforate your ear drum or lead to tinnitus or hearing loss. Microsuction is safe even if you’ve had a perforated ear drum in the past!
  • While we’re doing your microsuction, we get a close-up view right inside your ear canal so we can see exactly what we’re doing.