Cerumen Management, known more commonly as ear wax removal, is a necessary part of your hygiene routine. While most of the population is able to manage their cerumen through regular bathing and allowing the cerumen to naturally flow from the ear, a portion of the population suffers from overproduction of earwax. This excess earwax requires removal by a trained audiological professional as it can cause a patient to suffer from impacted cerumen.
Symptoms of Impacted Cerumen
Symptoms of impacted cerumen can include:
- Hearing loss
- Itching in the ear
- Ringing in the ears
- Sense of ear fullness
How We Remove Earwax
Typically, the process of earwax removal has a couple of steps to it to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. To begin, your clinician will use a video otoscope to view the inside of your ear canal. This tool works through a small camera that is displayed through a big screen for both you and your clinician to view simultaneously. This allows for full transparency in what the clinician is seeing inside of your ear and can help you to better understand the steps necessary to remove the ear wax from your ear. Now that we are able to map your specific cerumen management needs, we can begin the process of ear wax removal:
- First, we will use a curette or a small scoop to grab the newest, moist cerumen from your ear canal. This allows us to open up to the impacted cerumen and ultimately offer a deeper cleaning than could be done on a patient’s own accord.
- Second, when necessary, we apply a softening agent to soften harden cerumen. Then, we will use what is called an Ear Lavage machine to flush out the harder, more impacted wax from the ear. This machine works by applying controlled pressure to the ear while irrigating to push impacted wax out without risking damage to the eardrum. The process will begin by heating water to match the temperature of your body. This will keep from any vertigo or plaguing effects (it is also more comfortable than having cold water shot into your ears!) while the clinician is performing your ear cleaning. From there, the ear lavage will shoot a steady stream of pressure controlled water into your ears that will drive out impacted earwax in a simple, pain-free manner.
This is highly favorable to the traditional method that involves only the curette manually removing wax from which patients have reported pain and discomfort. In certain, particularly severe cases, your clinician will give you medicated drops to take home that you put in your ears to help loosen deeply impacted wax. Once that cerumen begins to soften, we may redo the entire treatment to fully clear your ears.