How to Handle Excess Earwax


Ear cleaning is a simple, everyday process that is done to remove excess buildup from your ears. Our ears produce earwax, or cerumen, for several different biological purposes, such as warding off infections, keeping dirt out of our ears and for lubrication. Other debris, such as dead skin and dust from the air, may even begin to build up inside our ears along with cerumen. Normally, our ears have a natural way of getting rid of debris and earwax. However, if the earwax hardens, it may become stuck inside our ears. In some cases, people start producing excessive earwax that may cause discomfort, pain or loss of hearing.

Any kind of earwax and debris that builds up inside our ears can lead to pain and even temporary hearing loss. If you experience any pain, itching or decreased hearing, you should visit an audiologist and have your ears cleaned.

Professional ear cleaning

Ear cleaning, also known as ear irrigation, is usually done by an audiologist. It usually involves a physical exam of your ear to determine if there is an excess of earwax and what kind of problems it’s causing. Next, your audiologist will use a syringe-like instrument to insert water or a saline solution into your ear. This will help flush out any built up earwax. This process may feel odd, but shouldn’t be uncomfortable. In fact, most people should feel relief after this is completed.

In the event having your ears cleaned by an audiologist doesn’t relieve your hearing loss, you’ll likely have a hearing test to see if that is contributing to your symptoms.

Ear cleaning at home

If you’re not dealing with excess amounts of earwax, you don’t need to do too much at home to keep your ears clean. Simply wiping the outer part of your ear with a dry or damp cloth after showering is enough to keep your auditory system in optimal shape. Avoid inserting cotton swabs, hairpins or other small tools in your ear in an attempt to scrape out earwax. These items can actually damage your ears in a number of ways, including: causing dryness and irritation of the ear canal, causing your ear to produce more wax than necessary and even rupturing an ear drum.

If you’re experiencing any issues with your hearing or think you may have an abundance of earwax, contact an audiologist in your area to have them professionally clean your ears. Your audiologist will also be able to provide you with tips and tricks to keeping your ears in the best shape possible.