The medical term for ear wax is cerumen and it is produced naturally by glands inside the ears. Our bodies produce ear wax to help lubricate the canals and keep dust or other debris from entering them. Having cerumen is not a bad thing and it typically clears itself from the ears on its own however, in some cases it can accumulate and trigger a blockage.

Common symptoms of blockage:

  • Ear pain
  • Noise or ringing in the ear
  • Pressure in the ear
  • Trouble hearing

What not to do:

It is common for people to use Q-tips or cotton swabs on their own to try and dislodge the blockage.  This can be dangerous and often leads to more problems as they can easily push the built-up ear wax further down the canal. If cerumen is pushed too far or you accidentally insert the Q-tip too farther than you should, it can potentially damage your ear and make removal more difficult.

Removing Earwax at home:

There are over the counter ear wax removal kits that can be purchased at many drug stores. These kits generally include a liquid ear drop that softens the earwax and a small rubber tool for flushing it after. They come with directions for how to use the kit, how often to use the drops, and how long to allow it to stay in the ear for. If you have ever had ear conditions, we recommend that you speak to a professional audiologist before attempting to use a kit on your own.

Removal with an Audiologist:

For those with a more severe blockage, making an appointment with an Audiologist is a good idea. Audiologists are medically trained to safely remove ear wax and often have different methods for doing so.  This allows them to assess each unique case and utilize the method that they feel is best for their patient.

If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or trouble hearing and suspect it is due to ear wax build, it is important to schedule with an Audiologist right away. Contact us with questions or to schedule an appointment.