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What is ear wax and why is ear wax removal important? Ear wax (the scientific name for it is cerumen) is a substance in the ear canal secreted by the ceruminous glands. Believe it or not, it is actually an important part of your body’s health defenses. It traps dirt that might otherwise accumulate in the ear canal and slows the growth of bacteria. This is why it is important not to over clean your ear canals.
Typically, Mother Nature is responsible for ear wax removal as it gradually migrates out of your ear and washes away when you shower or bathe. However, some people have a problem with wax blockage. This can happen when you have small ear canals and the ear wax gets trapped and builds up, or if you tend to have an overproduction of cerumen. In addition, when you wear hearing aids, sometimes the ear wax will build up because the action of putting the hearing aids in your ears tends to work against your body’s natural mechanism for removing it. (By the way, this is exactly why we don’t recommend using cotton swabs for ear cleaning. You might get a small amount out, but you generally push it further into your ear canal causing impaction.)
If you tend to have cerumen blockage, we can help! In addition to hearing aid services, Pacific Hearing Service offers ear cleaning. As audiologists, we are licensed to remove ear wax and have the tools necessary to do it. We use a microscope to clearly visualize your ear canal so we can remove it safely and thoroughly. (Please note that if you have a compromised immune system, it is in your best interest to have a physician who specializes in diseases of the ear, nose and throat to remove the cerumen.) If you believe this is the cause of your hearing problem is, call us to make an appointment for ear wax removal.
On a similar note, the most common cause of hearing aid malfunction is wax accumulating in the hearing aid. We can help with that, too. In addition to scheduled ear wax removal appointments, we have a drop-in hearing aid cleaning service. You will be amazed how much better hearing aids sound after a good cleaning!