Why do we have ear wax?
Contrary to popular belief, a little bit of ear wax is not a bad thing! It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that make you ear inhospitable to creepy crawly critters. That being said, some people do create more wax than others and to those of you who fall in this category, Acro Audiology is here to help! Dr. Golliher has the tools and experience to remove most wax impactions.
Causes of Earwax Blockage
A blockage of earwax is usually caused by an overproduction of earwax or insufficient cleaning. Surprisingly, the most common cause of a blockage is incorrect at-home earwax removal. Often, instead of cleaning out the earwax it is just pushed deeper inside the ear. Earphone and ear plug usage can also cause wax buildup, as the earphones can prevent earwax from naturally coming out of the ear canal.
Symptoms of Earwax Blockage
Earaches, a feeling of fullness in the ear, hearing loss and ringing in the ear (tinnitus) are all common signs of earwax blockage. If the earwax is not removed an infection can develop. This would include severe pain in the ear that does not subside and a fever. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor, as these may also be signs of a more serious condition.
How is an Earwax Block Treated?
In order to diagnose a buildup of earwax, your doctor will need to look in your ear with a special magnifying instrument called an otoscope. Once diagnosed, your doctor can remove the wax buildup a few ways: with a small curved instrument called a curet, through suction or by flushing out the wax using a water pick or warm water. If this continues to be a problem, wax-removal medications may be recommended.
In the meantime, please stop using Q-tips. Wax is produced by the medial and exterior portions of the ear canal. Those portions of the ear canal also have the ability to move the wax out of your ear. When using a Q-tip you risk pushing some wax into the inner portion of the ear canal where it will never be able to migrate out on its own.
Call Acro Audiology Hearing Care Center at (210) 239-5995 for more information or to schedule an appointment.