What is Earwax ?
Earwax is produced by glands in the ear canal the colour can vary from yellow, to bright orange, to dark brown.
It has the important function of keeping the ears clean and helps to protecting the sensitive ear canal from things like bacteria and debris that can cause infections. In a healthy ear the wax collects dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria and simply falls out without you noticing, cleaning as it goes.
Why do we get a build up of Earwax ?
Our ears are designed to be self-cleaning, with the help of cilia which are small hairs in the ear canal, which help gently and slowly remove the wax. Normally produce enough earwax to protect the ear without causing a build up but sometimes this wax can become hard and impacted.
Some people are more prone to ear wax especially if you have hairy or narrow ear canals or you are unlucky and make more wax than normal. As we age our wax can become hard making it more difficult to fall out.
The use of cotton buds in an effort to ‘clean’ the ears from excess wax, can damage the cilia hairs along the ear canal which help remove the wax and can actually cause earwax to build up. Cotton buds can also push the wax further into the ear, which leads to impacted wax.
The use of hearing aids, ear-bud earphones and earplugs and any other trauma to the ear canal can also lead to a build up of wax.
Problems caused by Earwax build up
Earwax build up can lead to problems like hearing loss, tinnitus and discomfort.
The discomfort can vary and sometimes may cause only mild irritation but it can be much more severe and has even been known to cause severe discomfort enough for people to present to Accident and Emergency departments because of the distress caused.
How do I prevent Earwax build-up?
You can’t prevent earwax. It’s there to protect your ears from dirt and germs. However you can use ear drops to soften the wax. This will help it fall out on its own and prevent ears blocking.
How can I remove Earwax build up ?
Traditionally, medical professionals would use ear syringing to remove an earwax build-up.
This would involve irrigating the whole ear canal with water to loosen the wax built up to try and clear it. This procedure can also damage the cilia in the ears leading to further wax build up later. There is also a small risk of infections and a very rare risk of damage to the eardrum.
Ear Microsuction is now the preferred method of wax removal however this is not available in most GP surgeries. Ear Microsuction is thought to be the safest method of earwax removal, as the wax can be visualised during the procedure using a microscope this allows the practitioner to avoid touching / damaging the sensitive skin of the ear canal and the ear drum, so the treatment is more comfortable and a much lower risk of complications.
Other wax removing alternatives include Hopi Ear Candling and home wax removal devices that involves squirting the ear canal with water.
If you have hearing problems and are wanting a hearing test it is important to make sure you have no abnormal wax build up as this will affect the results.
Where can I access Earwax Microsuction ?
Microsuction Ear Wax Removal is provided at Cheshire Lasers Clinic by Becki Wagstaff a Hearing Aid Audiologist who works for Amplifon based in Macclesfield.
Becki provides a range of other services at Cheshire Lasers including hearing tests and fitting hearing aids.
How much is Earwax Microsuction ?
Earwax Microsuction costs £35 for one ear, £50 for both ears.
How do I book a microsuction treatment ?
To book an appointment at please ring the local Amplifon office on 01625 439300.
Please advise them you would like the treatment at Cheshire Lasers Clinic and they can arrange it for you.
Before and after Wax Microsuction