What on earth is ear wax?

The skin inside your ear canal acts like a conveyor belt slowly removing any dirt from your ears. Earwax is a mixture of dead skin cells and oil from glands in the ear canal. The oil and dead skin create a brown sticky material that we know as ear wax.  

Why do we have ear wax?

Earwax is produced inside your ears to keep them clean and free of germs. Earwax fights infection by trapping germs and killing them using special enzymes.

Ear wax is sticky so it traps dirt and debris that may enter your ear.

Apparently, insects don’t like the smell of ear wax so are less likely to crawl in your ears!

In a limited amount, ear wax is a good thing to have.

What can cause earwax to build-up?

Ear wax usually passes out of the ears harmlessly, but sometimes too much can build up and block the ears. Some people regularly get blocked ears because they naturally produce a lot of earwax. Other factors that can increase the risk of too much earwax are:

·       producing naturally hard or dry earwax

·       having narrow or hairy ear canals

·       earwax becomes drier with age, so don’t get old!

·       Earwax can also block your ear if you frequently insert objects into your ear canal, such as cotton buds.

A build-up of earwax in your ear can cause:

·       earache

·       hearing loss

·       tinnitus

·       itchiness

·       vertigo

·       infections

What to do if you think your ear is blocked

Never try to remove a build-up of earwax yourself with a cotton bud or any other object. This can damage your ear and push the wax further down. Cotton buds strip the natural protective layer from your ear canal making your ears sensitive to wind and affecting the natural cleansing process of your ears. Using cotton buds can cause your ears to become itchier and actually increase the wax in your ears.

Eardrops from a pharmacy can be considered for small amounts of wax. However, eardrops aren't suitable for everyone, they will not remove large amounts of wax and some can irritate the skin. Eardrops shouldn't be used if you have a perforated eardrum (a hole or tear in your eardrum). Eardrops can also change the consistency of the ear wax and cause it to become very sticky. If the ear wax becomes too soft it can move back against the ear drum making professional removal trickier and less comfortable.

Ear irrigation – this is a quick and painless procedure where a jet of low pressure water is used to wash the earwax out.

Microsuction – a quick and painless procedure where a small device is used to suck the earwax out of your ear.

Hopi Ear Candles do not work!!! They can cause damage to your ears. The wax you are shown after the procedure is from the candle not your ear.

The best thing you can do is to seek the services of a professional. At Valley Hearing I offer microsuction and irrigation to remove ear wax safely and comfortably. It costs £55 for removal of wax from both ears and we complete a hearing test as well. All you need to do is put olive oil in your ears twice a day for 4-5 days before attending. If you read my customer reviews on Google you will see that my customers are very glad them came to Valley Hearing.