Ear Wax (Cerumen) Removal
Ear wax, cerumen, is produced to protest the ear from dust, debris, and infections. However, it can build up and cause hearing loss, pain, pressure, dizziness, or tinnitus. Cerumen blockages can be common, especially for people who use cotton swabs or hearing aids. If a blockage is present, it needs to be removed. At Eckelmann-Taylor Speech & Hearing Clinic we have a variety of options.
Ear Wax (Cerumen) Removal
Cerumen is the medical term for ear wax. It is produced by glands in the outer 1/3 of the ear canal, and completely normal. It is produced to lubricate the ears to keep out dust and debris. Some cerumen is a good thing, but too much can cause serious issues. Symptoms of a cerumen blockage are hearing loss, earaches, tinnitus, or pressure in the ear. Cotton swabs frequently cause a blockage because they push cerumen deeper than it is meant to be and will not be self-cleared. Deep cerumen is also more difficult and uncomfortable to have removed. Cost of services varies depending on insurance and facility. It is recommended to ask cost of service for each individual.
There are at home treatment options and in office treatment options. At Eckelmann-Taylor Speech & Hearing Clinic we have a variety of removal options.
At home removal options
There are over-the counter products to help remove cerumen at home. These kits include ear drops meant to soften the cerumen. Debrox is a popular choice, and samples are available at the Eckelmann-Taylor Speech & Hearing Clinic.
Some include a syringe to irrigate the ear. It is crucial to follow the directions for each product. Be sure that water used is distilled and as close to body temperature as possible. Water that is too cold or too warm can cause dizziness or vertigo.
If there is a history of ear surgery (including pressure equalization tubes as a child) do not attempt to treat at home. Consult with a hearing healthcare professional. If there are and doubts or questions, be sure that a physician or audiologist has approved of this method for you.
When in doubt, having cerumen build up evaluated and removed by a medical professional is highly recommended. Professional removal options vary from facility to facility. At Eckelmann-Taylor Speech & Hearing Clinic, we offer removal by small instruments, called curettes, or suction. If necessary, we have a microscope available to assist in removal. This allows our audiologists to utilize the latest technology to help our patients same-day.
Cerumen removal can be performed at time of comprehensive evaluation, hearing aid appointment, or scheduled independently. A case history will be obtained first to determine if there are any medical concerns. If medical concerns are present, a referral will be made to an ear, nose, and throat professional. Otoscopy, or ear examination, will determine if cerumen is present, significant enough to be removed, and able to be removed by tools available. If the cerumen is too deep, or hard, a referral to an ear, nose, and throat professional will be required. Due to our equipment options, most patients can be accommodated and no referral is needed.
Contact our clinic to schedule an appointment to determine if cerumen removal is necessary.Back to Audiology Services