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Four FAQs About Ear Cleaning

Woman Holding Ear

Your audiologist can perform a wide range of tests and offer a lot of assistance when it comes to protecting and improving your hearing health. However, sometimes what they’re concerned with is just how much earwax is in those ears. One in 20 people have issues with earwax blockages and build ups, so you might get an ear cleaning the first time you visit an audiologist. Here are a few of the most common questions about ear cleaning answered.

Is all earwax bad?

If you’ve had some evidence of wax in your ears, that’s no reason to start panicking about getting them cleaned. Some people produce too much earwax and that can become an issue, especially when it affects your hearing. In general however, earwax is important to the health of your ears, protecting them from dehydration and trapping bacteria and dust so that it doesn’t build up inside the ear. When it feels like your ear is plugged up or your hearing is becoming muffled in one ear, that’s a sign you have too much and you need a cleaning.

What happens if I don’t clean my ears?

There’s a good chance that nothing bad is going to happen if you don’t get an ear cleaning. Most people don’t produce any more earwax than is completely necessary and they can go their whole lives without it becoming an issue. However, when you do need your ears cleaned, it’s best to go to an audiologist. For one, you might suspect that earwax is the issue, but there could be other treatments necessary. What’s more, there are a lot of dangerous home cleaning methods that you should avoid.

What will an audiologist do for me?

Audiologists take different approaches to ear cleaning depending on what they see to be the issue. Carefully using tiny scoop-like instruments, they can shift some of the bigger, harder block-ups of earwax. In other cases, they can irrigate the ear with safe cleaning fluid. In some cases, especially where the wax has built deeper in the ear, they might use micro-suction tools, where a camera is used to guide the vacuum to suck out the wax. Different kinds of blockages need different kinds of treatments, and an audiologist is much more likely to tell which is necessary than the average person trying to clean their own ears.

Can I do it myself?

You can most definitely take some measures to clean your own ears. However, you need to be careful in how you do it. Oil drops sold specifically for cleaning ears are the safest home remedy there is, which help soften up the wax so that it breaks down and comes to the surface more naturally. What you should avoid is any intrusive means of cleaning, like using cotton swabs. Without the kind of precision and perspective an audiologist offers using their own scooping tools, it’s a lot more likely you will push wax down into the canal, worsening the issue and potentially even causing damage.


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