Ear wax (Cerumen) what is it? How do we remove it?
Cerumen or Ear Wax is naturally forming secretion that plays an important role in maintaining the health of our ears. It is secreted from Cerumen glands in the Ear canal (External Auditory Meatus(EAM) along with sweat and a moisturizing oils.
A process called Epithelial Migration which occurs at the rate your hair and nails grow means the skin of the ear canal grows outwards from the Ear Drum (Tympanic membrane) and is met by tiny hairs coated in wax in the outer part of the Ear canal which is surrounded by cartilage (not the skull as further down in the Ear Canal) this makes the section of the ear canal flexible and so moves with our jaw to help the process move along and the wax will usually drop out of the through the Tragal notch.
As this process occurs and old skin is being broken down the chemical process produces its own natural insect repellent to keep bugs from crawling down your Ear Canal.
It is Anti-Bacterial. The Ear is one of the bodies most ideal places for picking up infections, It is dark, moist and warm, the perfect breeding ground for Viral, Fungal and Bacterial infections. Kids often look like they have dirty ears, this is not the case, rings of wax or visible wax are there as children’s immune systems are not fully developed and this is extra protection. It can even kill the Bacteria that can cause Meningitis.
So Ear wax as you can tell is a good thing and the ear should not be cleaned or tampered with unless it is clinically necessary to do so. (Nothing smaller than your elbow should go in your ear)
Why would we remove wax?
Wax can sometimes become compacted and block the ear canal which can be unpleasant. For a start your hearing levels will be reduced, it can be painful, cause Tinnitus (Sounds in the ear) as well as a feeling of been unbalanced.
How do we remove wax?
At Wickersley Audiology our preferred method of removal is Micro Suction this is a safer method than the traditional syringing method and is not as messy. The clinician wearing a magnifying lit head loupe can see what is happening throughout the process and proceed as necessary.
Prior to the appointment Wax Softening, with the traditional ear syringing methods softening is essential with Microsuction this is not always necessary although if sometimes needed the clinician may use drops during the procedure to aid in removal for our patients Wickersley Audiology would recommend medical grade Olive Oil.
DO NOT USE Hydrogen Peroxide softeners, we have found these although effective at softening the wax can leave the skin under the wax soft and sensitive and make the procedure uncomfortable.
Is it Painful?
Most cases are dealt with pain free but ear wax removal is an invasive procedure and should only be completed if medically necessary. As with other procedures there are always risks which can include;
Damage to the skin of the ear canal, temporary reduction in hearing, temporary dizziness (rarely sickness and fainting, triggering of new or aggravating existing Tinnitus, Temporary tickling of the throat, coughing especially if already dry and tickly. An increases risk of picking up an infection after the process, this is why we recommend keeping the ear dry and away from water such as swimming pools, hot tubs outdoor swimming for a week after treatment.
What if the wax cannot be removed?
It is sometimes necessary to do further softening. If this is a case a follow up appointment will be made at no extra cost. If we find evidence of infection, we may also refer you to your GP.
Why Wickersley Audiology?
At Wickersley Audiology you will always be seen by a registered Audiologist we have over 30 years of experience in clinic. We have state of the art medical grade equipment and you be shown your ear for yourself pre and post treatment. And we only use sterile single use Specula and Zoellner suction tubes. We are fully insured.
Your Ears and Hearing are precious please don’t try Hopi Ear Candles or none registered people who still use old / antiquated methods such as irrigation syringing that can increase the risk of complications (e.g. perforation of the eardrum (Tympanic Membrane))
Come to the professionals at Wickersley Audiology.
How much does it cost?
The charge for our Microsuction is £50 this covers One or Two ears and includes follow up appointments if needed.