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Earwax is healthy and serves as a protective and lubricating agent. Earwax needs removal in certain situations.
The ear including the skin of the ear canal and the eardrum are delicate parts of the body and requires special care. Earwax (or cerumen) is healthy in normal amounts and serves as a protective and lubricating agent with antibacterial properties. If earwax isn’t causing you problems, just leave it alone. Amazingly, the ear is self- cleaning and once the process is not interrupted the wax should just drop out.
The quantity of ear wax produced however varies greatly between individuals. Wax blockage against the eardrum, is often seen in elderly patients, or it is caused by probing the ear with cotton-tipped buds or from continual use of hearing aids or ear molds. Unfortunately large amounts of ear wax can cause hearing loss, blocked ears, ear discomfort, tinnitus, itchiness, dizziness or coughing. Ear wax needs removal if it is causing these symptoms or interfering with a view of the eardrum or ear canal. Wax also needs removal if an impression needs to be taken of the ear canal for a mold or custom-made earplugs or if the wax causing the patient’s hearing aid to whistle.
There are a number of ways to treat impacted earwax, such as ear drops, irrigation, microsuction or curettage. Use of wax softening ear drops are first-line and often the only treatment needed. Microsuction is the preferred method of wax removal for Ear, Throat and Nose specialists, and is the safest and most comfortable method. The method is very clean, as no liquids are used as is the case with ear syringing or ear irrigation. The procedure is dry which significantly reduces any risk of infection.