What is Ear Wax (CERUMEN)?
08 January 2021
Believe it or not ear wax (Cerumen) is a necessary!
The waxy material helps provide the sensitive ear canal skin with a protective coating. It is thought to have some anti-fungal and antibacterial properties as well as moisturising the ear canal skin and serving as a deterrent to foreign bodies camping out in the ear.
No bugs will want to set up house in a waxy ear!
Why do my ears produce so much wax?
Some things can actually cause the ear to produce more wax. Conditions such as stenosis (narrowing of the ear canal), overgrowth of hair in the canal, and hypothyroidism can cause wax buildup. Using cotton swabs/Q-tips, wearing hearing aids, and the aging of the skin and loss of elasticity can also lead to excessive ear wax.
Problems caused by ear wax impaction
- Hearing Loss
- Otitis Externa- bacterial or fungal
- Fullness or ear pain
- Vertigo and/or Tinnitus
- Hearing Aid problems such as feedback
Your age can make a difference in wax!
The amount of ear wax we produce increases over our lifetime:
- 30-44 = 9.3%
- 45-54 = 16.4%
- 55-64 = 25.3%
- 65-74 = 26.6%
- 75-85 = 42.3%
How do I get the wax out of my ears?
You should have listened when your Granny told you to put nothing smaller than your elbow in your ears! The three techniques used by health care professionals include instrument removal, suction or aspiration, and irrigation.
Audiologists generally prefer suction and instruments whereas many family practice physicians utilise irrigation.
We use the microsuction method of ear wax removal. This is completely pain less and uses no jets at all. It’s the gold standard in wax removal and takes around 45 mins to removal wax from both ears.
What about Ear Candling?
“Ear candling,” also known as auricular candling or coning, is a folk medicine practice that refers to various procedures that involve placing a cone-shaped device in the ear canal and supposedly extracting earwax and other impurities with the help of smoke or a burning wick.
The procedures supposedly create a low-level vacuum that draws wax and other debris out of the ear canal. Some proponents even claim that impurities are removed from the inner ear, the facial sinuses, or even the brain itself. According to medical researchers, it is both dangerous and ineffective.
Why Candling Can’t Work!
Since wax is sticky, the negative pressure needed to pull wax from the canal would have to be so powerful that it would rupture the eardrum in the process. However, candling produces no vacuum. Researchers who measured the pressure during candling of ear models found that no negative pressure was created. The same investigators candled eight ears and found that no ear wax was removed and candle wax was actually deposited in some of them!
The notion that the ear canal is connected to structures beyond the eardrum is false. While some claim that the eardrum is porous and quickly allows impurities to pass through, this is untrue. The “impurities” that appear in the collected wax (usually on a paper plate or other collecting device) are nothing more than the ashes from the burnt wick and wax of the cone itself.
If you are concerned about ear wax in your ears, you should schedule an appointment with Arnold Hearing Specialists and we can examine your ears and carry out safe and effective wax removal service.
The Effects of Excessive Ear Hair!
This new growth of hair in your ears is unfortunately a normal part of male aging. No one is entirely sure what makes it happen, but one theory is that as you age, the hair follicles in and around your ears and nose may become more sensitive to the male hormone testosterone, which stimulates the unwanted hair growth.
Science has not successfully tackled the problem of permanently removing hair, but there are some things you can do on a regular basis to keep the hair in check. Get a close shave. Shaving around the outer ear and the lobe is an effective, albeit temporary, method for getting rid of external hair. For the peskier hair that seems to congregate just at the edge of your inner ear, your best and safest bet is to invest in a personal grooming shaver.
Keep your ears clean. Excess ear hair can have an effect on your hearing and hearing aids in a roundabout way. Earwax can get all tangled in your ear hair and pile up, causing temporary hearing loss and feedback!
To book an ear wax removal appointment with our specialists Louise or Deepal - both trained in wax removal by micro-suction then please click here to visit our dedicated Ear Wax Removal website. You can find out more about our service and even book your appointment directly online.