If the popularity of earwax extraction videos on YouTube is any indication (some of these have as many as 8 million views!), professional earwax removal is a service in high demand. But despite our collective obsession with watching these procedures, does earwax need to be professionally removed?
Most often they do not. Your ears are like self-cleaning ovens and usually don’t need any extra help.
In fact, having impacted or excessive earwax — the only time a professional should be brought in for extraction — occurs very rarely. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO), one in 10 children and one in 20 adults fall into this category.
Why, then, are the videos so popular and when should you seek professional earwax removal?
What Creates Impacted Earwax
Your body produces earwax that is beneficial to the health of your ears. It has antibacterial properties and helps filter and trap dirt and debris and other things that may damage the delicate interior of your ear.
Chewing and moving your jaw helps move old earwax from the ear canal to the ear opening where it usually dries up and falls away.
But when you try to “clean” your ears using cotton swabs, bobby pins, paperclips, or any similar slender or pointy object, you will then push all that old earwax back down into the ear.
This earwax can become dry, super-sticky, and hardened next to the eardrum, creating an impacted situation.
There is such a thing as overproducing earwax, which does plague some people. Even though this is rare, if you have excessive earwax, then that same hardened blockage of earwax can occur.
When to Have Earwax Professionally Removed
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you could have a build-up of earwax that’s become impacted. If so, you’ll need to visit a doctor to have it professionally removed.
Some common indicators of impacted earwax include:
Ears are painful or feel full
Loss of hearing
Feeling like your ear is plugged
Ringing or buzzing in your ear
Feeling like your ears itch
Having drainage from the ear
A doctor will use special instruments to carefully remove the impacted earwax by manually extracting it, flushing it out, or suctioning it out. The doctor may also prescribe wax-softening drops that will help the wax to liquefy and then drain out.
If It’s Impacted Earwax, We Can Help
If you’re struggling with any of the above symptoms, you may have impacted earwax that should be professionally removed. Our staff at Marvel Clinic is highly experienced with ear problems. We will be able to quickly assess your situation and treat your symptoms with professional earwax removal, if necessary.
Give us a call at 931-451-8401 to set up an appointment and let us help you get relief from impacted earwax.