Earwax is a natural substance produced by the body to help lubricate the ear canal and protect against infection. For most people, it will pass out of the ear within two to three days and no further action is necessary. In some instances however, the ear will become blocked with excess wax and need to be removed.
Although an earwax blockage can happen to anyone and many Irish citizens undergo a removal procedure each year, the following factors make an individual more predisposed to its occurrence:
An individual in need of earwax removal will exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms you visit an audiologist for an examination.
An earwax blockage is very curable and there are multiple treatment options available, some are home remedies and others require the help of a specialist.
There are a range of home remedies which can help more mild cases, the most effective being earwax removal oil. Placing a couple of drops into your ears each day works to soften the wax and any excess should fall out within a number of days and no further treatment is required.
If however, your earwax blockage is more severe home remedies may prove ineffective, in which case the best form of treatment would be to see an audiologist who will then perform either irrigation earwax or microsuction earwax removal.
Irrigation earwax removal involves inserting warm water into the ear canal through a syringe to flush out any excess earwax causing a blockage. Although often confused with ear syringing, the two processes are different. Irrigation ear wax removal uses a low-pressure flow of water controlled by a specialised irrigator to release water into the ear. With ear syringing however, water pressure is not controlled. Due to the specialised approach of Irrigation earwax removal, the process is deemed significantly safer and more comfortable than ear syringing, and in Ireland, the process has almost replaced ear syringing entirely.
It’s worth noting however, that the procedure is not suitable for everyone and those in the following circumstances should speak to an expert about an alternative method.
It’s likely individuals in these circumstances will be recommended microsuction earwax removal as an alternative.
Microsuction earwax removal involves using an endoscope to provide a clear view of the inside of the ear and a medical suction device to suck out the excess earwax. This relatively modern treatment has many benefits. Not only is it pain-free, but it also allows a doctor to have a thorough look into your ears, recognise any potential problem areas such as infection or perforation and provide the necessary treatment to prevent/ minimise the complications this may cause.
Unlike irrigation earwax removal, microsuction earwax removal can be safely used on patients suffering from a perforated eardrum as there is no risk of wax being pushed further down your ear canal. As a result, microsuction earwax removal is deemed the safest option for ear wax removal and is widely used across Ireland.
Visiting a specialist is the safest, most effective way to treat an earwax blockage. Not only do they have the expertise and equipment to guarantee the best quality treatment, but it’s also the safest option available. With expert advice, patients are able to receive a personalised treatment plan based on the severity of the earwax blockage and overall ear health. During the process, an audiologist can also carry out a thorough assessment of general ear health to ensure that aside from the blockage, your ears are in good condition. Seeing a specialist is the best way to look after your hearing and maintain good ear health.
Unfortunately, an earwax blockage will not heal on its own and some form of intervention is essential. If left untreated, the condition will continue to worsen and symptoms will become increasingly more severe. Due to the wax build-up, it will also become difficult for experts to see inside the ear and identify any potential issues and they may go undiagnosed as a result. It is therefore important to treat an earwax blockage as soon as the symptoms begin to show. A consultation with an audiologist will confirm the presence of an earwax blockage and the best possible treatment will be provided.
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