Earwax: The Causes and Solutions

Offered By Walnut Grove Clinic

There are several telltale signs that you may have a build-up of wax in your ear; perhaps you’ve found yourself asking people to repeat themselves from time to time recently or had to raise the volume on the television a few notches. In some instances, the symptoms can be almost unnoticeable, yet for others, they can range from mild discomfort to a pain that’s impossible to ignore.

A natural body secretion, earwax isn’t usually given much thought until it begins to cause problems. Also known by its medical name cerumen, earwax is produced by glands in the body and secreted directly into the ear. It carries out an important job of protecting the ear canal against bacteria, water, fungi and foreign bodies. However, excess amounts can become compacted and hinder the passage of sound through the ear canal, leading to hearing loss.

Hearing aid users may find they are more prone than others to a build-up of wax. This is because the hearing aid prevents the everyday migration of wax out of the ear. The natural response of the ear to a foreign body – in this case the hearing aid - is to produce wax, which can unfortunately exacerbate the problem.

If you think you might be suffering with a build-up of earwax, there are several things you can do. In the first instance, try using natural olive oil to help soften and loosen the wax. Put a towel over your pillow to protect it and give your ear(s) a really good soak with oil overnight for a week. Don’t be tempted to place tissue or cotton wool inside your ear after putting in the oil, since this will simply suck it back out! You may find that this is sufficient to solve the problem. However, if not, the wax can be removed using micro-suction, which is our client-preferred method and the one we use at Walnut Grove.

Don’t be tempted to dig out the wax with a cotton bud or something similar; the advice is never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear since this can cause damage. Syringing and micro-suction are no longer offered by GP surgeries in this area. However, at Walnut Grove we have teamed up with Andrew Bird Hearing, an experienced and well-qualified supplier of micro-suction, whose experts are able to offer appointments privately at Walnut Grove or home visits if required.


Want to keep learning?  Find more articles from Walnut Grove Clinic:

Ear Nose and Throat

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