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All About Ear Wax

Ear wax, or cerumen, is a naturally occurring substance in your ears.  There are 2 kinds of ear wax; wet and dry.  The type of cerumen you have depends on your genetics.

Ear wax isn’t actually wax; it’s made up of these 4 substances:

  1. Fatty acids
  2. Squalene
  3. Alcohols
  4. Cholesterol

Ear wax can be many colours, including tan, yellow, reddish, brownish, or grey.

 

The Purpose of Ear Wax

 

The purpose of ear wax is to keep your ear canals clean.  It is naturally anti-microbial and helps to prevent the occurrence of bacterial infections.

Ear wax actually expels debris and dead skin cells from your canal, essentially cleaning your ears, when you perform regular tasks like chewing or speaking.

Some people produce a higher volume of ear wax that can become impacted in their ear canal, affecting their ability to hear clearly and, occasionally, causing pain or discomfort.  The first step to alleviate this is to put a few drops of mineral oil or olive oil into the ears every day to soften the wax.  There are also oil-based products available that are designed specifically for this purpose.  In many cases, the wax will soften and work its way out of the ear.  Flushing out the ear in a warm shower is often all that it needed once you’ve been oiling for a few days.

 

Professional Intervention May Be Needed

 

In some cases, professional intervention is required to provide relief and remove the impacted cerumen.  There are different methods a hearing healthcare provider can use to remove ear wax, depending on your specific situation.  Irrigation involves spraying water into the ear canal to flush out the wax.  Alternatively, they can remove it manually, using special tools, or curettes, to dislodge and pull out the excess wax.  Sometimes, a combination of both methods is required to effectively clear the canal.

 

Ear Wax Removal

 

Ear wax removal is a delicate process and should not be attempted at home.  The hearing healthcare specialists at Beck Hearing are certified and undergo regular retraining in cerumen removal to ensure your safety and comfort.  Home remedies like ear candling are not recommended, as they are not proven to work and have a high potential for injury.

If you, or someone you love, needs help managing their ear wax, Beck Hearing has everything you need, from answers to your questions, to oil products you can use at home, to professional ear wax removal services in our clinic.


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