Did you know that our ears are self-cleaning? Our auditory systems are amazing on every level! However, sometimes we can produce too much earwax. Here are some common questions surrounding wax and earwax removal.

 

Why do we have wax in our ears?

Earwax (cerumen) is an important and normally-occurring bodily substance. It consists of oil and wax produced by glands located in the skin lining our ear canals. Once combined with dead skin, dirt, and debris from our environment, earwax is produced.

an audiologist pointing to a medical model of the inner ear

Earwax helps moisturize our ear canals and functions as a protective barrier for more central parts of our auditory system. It even deters bugs and insects from entering our ear canals!

 

Can wax build-up affect my hearing?

Although earwax is normal, it can be a problem if there is too much. Occluding wax can cause a temporary loss of hearing until it is removed.

closeup of a patient's ear being irrigated to remove earwax

 

How is wax removed or managed?

It is typically recommended that wax removal be performed by a trained professional. Q-tips may damage the ear canal or simply push earwax deeper into the canal causing it to become impacted.

Wax removal, also known as cerumen management, is routinely performed at our office using appropriate techniques depending on the individual’s type and amount of earwax.

1.Suction/vacuum

2.Water irrigation/flushing – we have the Earigator Cerumen Management System!

3.Cotton swab

4.Curette

5. Wax removal/softening drops (Debrox, Audiologist’s Choice)

 

Can wax build-up interfere with my hearing aids?

Wax build-up can sometimes clog hearing aids. At Hudson Valley Audiology, we make it a habit to perform otoscopy (visual inspection of the outer ear and ear canal) at every appointment, ensuring that any built-up wax is removed.

an audiologist performing otoscopy on a patient

If wax does interfere with the hearing aid, we make sure you are comfortable cleaning your devices when necessary.