Cerumen (earwax) Removal
Cerumen, also known as earwax, is naturally produced by the glands in the ears to lubricate the ear canals and keep dust and debris from getting too far down in the ear canal.
Cerumen typically clears itself from the ear, but in some instances can accumulate and cause a blockage.
Symptoms of a cerumen blockage include:
- Tinnitus (noise in the ear)
- Hearing loss
- Ear pressure
If a blockage occurs it may need to be removed. This can be done at home or in a professional's office depending on the size and severity of the blockage.
At-Home Earwax Removal
People commonly use cotton swabs to try and remove earwax or dislodge a blockage, however, this can sometimes cause more problems as cotton swabs may push the blockage further down into the ear canal risking even more damage to the ear. Cotton swabs themselves can also be accidentally inserted too far into the ear canal and can potentially damage your ear, including the possibility of rupturing your eardrum.
In some instances, patients have tried to remove earwax with an at-home ear wax removal kit. Earwax removal kits can also be purchased over the counter in most drug stores.
Removal at Your Doctor's Office
If the earwax blockage is more significant it may need to be removed in our office. At Edison Stanford we have the certification and equipment necessary to safely remove earwax deposits via curettage. Curettage, which involves the use of long curved tool called a curette, combined with our audioscope, is used to gently scrape cerumen from the ear canal removing the blockage.
If you experience pain or discomfort as a result of earwax, or suspect you have a blockage, it's important that you make an appointment as soon as possible to address the issue. Removing earwax is also necessary to keep hearing instruments functioning optimally and to keep them from becoming blocked. We recommend you have your ears checked for blockage and your hearing aids cleaned at least every three months. Depending on the amount of earwax your body produces it may be necessary to adjust this schedule based on your individual needs.