Do You Need a Professional Ear Cleaning?
Cerumen (earwax) is a natural product of our bodies. It helps to keep our ears clean by taking dirt away from the eardrum and moving it to the outer ear. Usually this process works just fine, perhaps with a little help at home. But sometimes a problem can cause a build-up of earwax, causing discomfort. Do you need a professional ear cleaning? Knowing these reasons can help keep your ears healthy and pain-free.
You produce excess earwax
Some people produce more earwax than necessary, causing earwax to build-up in the ear canal. Others have small ear canals that don’t allow the wax to migrate out fast enough. In these cases, it’s a good idea to have an audiologist perform a professional ear cleaning to prevent an impaction.
You wear hearing aids or earplugs
Earwax is pushed out of the ear canal to the outer ear; that’s the natural cleaning process. When something is blocking the wax from falling out, such as hearing aids or earplugs, earwax can build-up and possible become blocked. People who wear hearing aids or earplugs (especially molded earplugs designed to be worn at work) should consider consulting an audiologist for a professional ear cleaning if they notice a problem.
You feel as if your ears are full
This may be a symptom of a build-up of earwax. Sometimes people report that sounds became muffled and they felt as if their ears were plugged up. Sometimes this results from improper ear cleaning, most commonly using a cotton swab (or other narrow object) inside the ear canal. This causes earwax to be pushed back into the ear, instead of allowing it to migrate to the outer ear.
You see dark earwax
If you notice a change in the color of your earwax, you may have a blockage. A color change often indicates debris that is stuck in the ear canal, or you possibly suffered an injury. Your ear may produce more earwax in an attempt to solve the problem, leading to a build-up. An audiologist can best diagnose and treat the issue.
You have pain in your ear
Anytime you have pain in your ear, it’s important to have it checked out as soon as possible. Your audiologist can determine the cause of the pain and treat the problem. It may be due to an earwax impaction, or blockage. A hardened ball of earwax can cause pain if it presses against the auditory nerve. The audiologist has professional tools to remove the blockage and clean your ear to relieve the pressure and pain.
Despite what some people think about earwax, it actually is a good thing! It helps to keep our ears lubricated and clean, and protects your eardrum from dirt. Most of the time we can wipe away earwax from the outer ear and keep our ears clean. But when problems develop and you ask yourself if you need a professional ear cleaning, it’s time to see an audiologist for an evaluation.