Most of the time, your ears do a good job of regulating the amount of earwax you have. In the right amount, earwax helps protect your ears from dirt, debris and bacteria. However, sometimes you can have a buildup of earwax that can cause symptoms and need to be removed.
Symptoms of Earwax Buildup
While you may not experience all of these, symptoms of earwax buildup can include:
- Ear fullness or pressure in the ear
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
- Temporary hearing loss
Eventually, without removal, earwax buildup can lead to infection, which can cause additional symptoms like fever and severe pain.
Why Do I Have Earwax Buildup?
One of the most common causes of earwax buildup is actually incorrectly cleaning your ears with a cotton swab. While many think that using cotton swabs can help keep your ear clean, you run the risk of pushing earwax deeper into your ear canal and causing serious damage to the lining of your ear canal or eardrum.
Wearing hearing aids or using earbuds regularly can also make it more likely that you experience buildup as well. This is because foreign objects in the ear can both increase earwax production and prevent it from naturally coming out of the ear canal.
How To Remove Excess Earwax at Home
While it’s always a bad idea to use a cotton swab or stick anything else inside your ear, there are safe at-home methods for earwax removal, including:
- Use an eye dropper to apply a few drops of baby oil or mineral oil into the ear canal to soften the wax. After a couple of days, use a rubber-bulb syringe to gently squirt warm water into the ear canal. Once the water has drained out of the ear, the ear should be dried with a towel. Repeat several times until the wax has been removed.
- Purchase an earwax removal kit.
Visiting an ENT Specialist
The best and safest way to remove earwax is to have it done by an ENT specialist, especially if you have signs of an infection or notice that you are struggling to hear while at work or out with friends at Table 24.
A specialist will examine your ears, ask about your symptoms and use one of several methods of earwax removal, including:
- Using a small, curved instrument called a curet
- Using suction techniques
- Flushing out the wax using a syringe with warm water and saline or diluted hydrogen peroxide
- Prescribing medicated eardrops to soften earwax
Any of these methods should relieve your symptoms quickly and get you back to hearing and feeling better.
If you would like more information or wish to schedule an appointment, contact Lake Jackson ENT today.