While most people don’t think twice about using cotton swabs to clean their ears, they may actually be causing more harm than good. By pushing small objects such as swabs, bobby pins, keys, or other items into the ear, it has the potential to make any wax present move deeper into the ear canal. This can cause a blockage that could set you up for all types of problems.
From dizziness and coughing to ear pain and reduced hearing, there are multiple symptoms that can signify a blockage of earwax has occurred. Other symptoms include the sensation of fullness or ringing in the ear. Not everyone is prone to waxy buildup, but some people have the tendency to suffer from it more often.
One of the most frequent reasons doctors see patients for their ears, this impacted wax can cause problems for people of any age. Often affecting regular users of earbuds or ear plugs, it’s actually quite easy to fall victim to this ailment. People who work in loud environments and use the sponge style ear plugs which get inserted into the ear can be affected by waxy buildup as well.
In order to remove this uncomfortable buildup, both over the counter and doctor administered ear irrigation solutions are available, though it’s not always recommended. Unless excessive ear wax is confirmed as the culprit, it’s best to see a doctor before attempting ear irrigation on your own.
The process requires that liquid be inserted into the affected ear, which should then flush out any earwax, or cerumen, present. In order to administer this at home, you will need to follow this process:
Home ear irrigation kits are available at pharmacies, the health and beauty department of your local department store, or online. You can also create your own with a small syringe and a small gauge plastic catheter attached; it is usually safer to purchase one.
If you do make one, be sure it is soft plastic and cut bluntly so it doesn’t poke the ear. Don’t go so deep into the ear that pain is felt. If any pressure or pain is present with either method, stop immediately and consult your audiologist.
There isn’t a lot of information available on the topic of ear irrigation, however, it is worth noting that for those who have had surgery that required eardrum tubes, this is not a recommended way to assist in the removal. For those exhibiting symptoms of a blockage, see your audiologist for treatment.
The body is designed to produce earwax to protect the inner ear. This buildup of dead cells of skin, hair, and other debris usually is removed naturally by the body, though occasionally it requires some assistance. Often the water from showers or swimming that get into the ear will loosen the wax and allow it to come out on its own. When the ear canal becomes plugged with wax, its also referred to as cerumen impaction.
In order to treat this condition here are some tips:
There are other options available for solving the problem of a buildup such as using earwax softener drops or having a doctor remove the buildup. At-home remedies to soften the wax include inserting a few drops of an oily substance into the ear with a small dropper like baby oil, glycerin, or mineral oil.
If you experience any symptoms such as pain, itchiness or ringing in the ear, dizziness or coughing, check with your audiologist to see if you have a blockage of ear wax and if a home ear irrigation will work for you. It can be a very reasonable solution to a very touchy problem.