Earwax Removal

What are cotton buds doing to our ears?

We produce earwax naturally to collect and trap dirt and bacteria in our ears. Removing it isn’t necessary unless you have a large build up that is affecting your hearing; only a healthcare professional should remove this.

Why do we have earwax?

Inserting cotton buds, or any other object for that matter, into your ear risks damaging your eardrum or ear canal. Earwax, which is sometimes known as cerumen, is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Traps dirt and dust before it gets too deep inside your ear
  • Absorbs dead skin cells
  • Prevents the skin inside the ear from drying out
  • Stops infection and bacteria from getting into the inner ear

Earwax is completely natural and is actually a useful function of the body. Sometimes though, it does build up and cause discomfort. If you are suffering with blocked up ears, it is instinct to want to clean them. Whilst it’s tempting to reach for a cotton bud, this could have the exact opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve. The earwax can be pushed further into your ear making it even more difficult to remove the wax. You could even accidentally damage your eardrum or ear canal.

Can I remove earwax myself at home?

Most of the time if you have a build-up of earwax, you will need to have it removed by a healthcare professional. However, if it is just a little you may be able to remove it yourself at home by using olive oil drops. These help to soften the earwax so that it will eventually fall out of your ear. It is also recommended that you use these drops before an earwax removal appointment. The best way to use them is to lie down with your head to one side for around 10-15 minutes (to allow the oil to sink in). You should do this 3-4 times a day for 4-5 days consecutively.

If the wax you need to get rid of is just on the outer ear and you can see it, the safest way to remove it is by using a warm damp cloth. You can place you finger under the cloth and run it around your ear’s curves (on the outside only!) and it will collect any excess earwax or debris effectively. It’s important to state again at this point that inserting anything into your ear is likely to do more harm than good. Cotton buds, ear candles, tweezers and syringes are things that people regularly try to use but all could cause an infection or worse. It is worth noting that there is no medical evidence to suggest that ear candles work.

An earwax removal appointment

If you’ve got a more substantial wax build-up, you will need to see a hearing healthcare professional to get it removed. They can use microsuction or irrigation to remove the earwax safely and cleanly from your ear. We also offer endoscopic earwax removal which is a particularly precise method of wax removal. We offer these appointments at our clinic in St Julians. It only takes an hour and often is done much quicker than that.

Endoscopic Ear Wax Removal

A patient having endoscopic earwax removal with Veritas Hearing

If you’d like to book yourself or a loved one in for an earwax removal appointment, simply give us call.

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