A STICKY SITUATION
Did you know that our Audiologists have the training and expertise to assess and manage the wax produced within your ear canals. You may be surprised to know that ear wax, also called cerumen, is actually a natural and healthy substance within our ear canals.
What exactly is cerumen? Cerumen, or wax, is a "combination of secretions from the cerumenous or aprocrine glands and sebaceous glands" within the ear canal (Purdy 2002). These secretions that come from the glands within the canal actually serve a functional purpose, and are not there simply to become bothersome. Cerumen acts as a defense mechanism for the canal and protects the tympanic membrane, or ear drum, from environmental hazards such as dust, debris, and even small insects. Cerumen also acts as a lubricant that is water repellant and an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal agent that provides protection for the tympanic membrane.
Most people have a normal amount of cerumen that is produced within the canal and naturally migrates out of the ear through a process known as epithelial migration. However, you may need additional assistance if you are one that produces an over production of ear wax. An over production of wax may cause problems with your hearing or your hearing aid(s).
The cerumen management process begins with our audiologist inspecting your ear canals using a visualization process known as Otoscopy. Using a handheld Otoscope or a microscope allows the ear canal to be fully viewed under clear light and magnification. Once the canal health has been assessed and is known to have an excessive amount of cerumen, a specific treatment option will be utilized. As Audiologists, we have a variety of removal options that are appropriate and safe. These methods can be, but are not limited to, the use of sterile curettes, alligator forceps, vacuum suction, irrigation and cerumen softener in conjunction with any of the aforementioned devices. The method of removal is determined by the Audiologist based specifically on your ear canal health and sensitivity.
Make sure that your ear wax doesn't interfere with your hearing.