Earwax: Let’s talk about it

As unpleasant as it may be, earwax is both normal and healthy.  It cleans, protects, and lubricates the ear canals.

 

Some of the most common questions I get are

Do I need to clean out my ears?

How do I keep them clean?

When is it time to see a doctor?

 

The outer ear should be washed regularly and gently with a washcloth and mild soap. The ear canal, however, is a different story.

 

The ear canal generally does not require cleaning because actions like talking and chewing help massage the wax out of the ear naturally. However, some people produce more wax than others or have naturally smaller ear canals. These features, along with changes in age, weather, or the use of earbuds or hearing aids can also cause a buildup that needs to be removed.

 

Signs of earwax buildup are: sudden or partial hearing loss, ringing or buzzing, a feeling of fullness in the ear, or earache.

 

I strongly advise against inserting Q-tips into the ear canal. Q-tips can make the blockage worse by pushing wax deeper into the ear, and they can also cause infections or even rupture your eardrum.

 

Most cases of earwax blockage respond to home treatments used to soften wax. You can try turning your head to the side and placing a few drop of baby or mineral oil in your ear. After 5 minutes, tilt your head to the other side and put drops in the other ear. This will soften the wax and help it make its way out of the ear. Doing this a few times a week may help prevent wax buildup. You might try this at bedtime and put a cotton ball into the outer ear (not in the canal!) to catch any oil that drips out.

 

That said, if you or a family member is experiencing persistent dizziness, hearing loss, ear pain, or blockage, please contact our office at 561-408-6445 to make an appointment. We accept all major insurances.

Our address is:

900 NW 13th St., Suite 206

Boca Raton, FL 33486