Beyond providing hearing tests and helping patients fit and use their hearing aids, one of the most common tasks your audiologist helps out with on a regular basis is a professional ear cleaning. However, whether or not you need a professional ear cleaning is a question that needs to be addressed, so here are a few points to help you figure it out.

Is it necessary?

Earwax is a fact of life. All ears produce it and it helps to trap and get rid of germs, dirt and other debris in the ears. Some people produce more wax than others, but in most cases, it poses no problem. However, if you produce so much earwax that it causes a blockage, that can become a serious issue. Not only can it impact your hearing and make your ear feel uncomfortable, but it can also increase your risk of an ear infection which could potentially cause permanent damage to your hearing.

Symptoms that suggest you need an ear cleaning

Producing a lot of wax is not, in itself, a sign that your ears need to be cleaned. Here are some of the symptoms you should be aware of instead:

  • A full or blocked sensation in the ear
  • Your hearing is muffled or distorted due to the blockage
  • Ringing or noises in the ear, also known as tinnitus
  • Earache
  • Dizziness, also known as vertigo

If you experience a sharp pain in your ear, it’s recommended you see your audiologist as soon as possible, as this could be a sign of infection which should be treated with an ear cleaning and antibiotics.

Should you do it yourself?

There are a variety of methods to clean your ear yourself. For light blockages, taking a warm shower and using the water to soften the wax before toweling off your outer ear may be enough, meaning no cleaning is necessary. Irrigation kits use special cleaning solutions to flush out the ear and can be both safe and effective is used according to instructions. Candling and using cotton buds (or any other small instruments) is not advised. Neither method works effectively and both can make the issue worse. Cotton swabs often push the wax deeper, causing a serious impaction or irritate the ear, increasing your chances of infection. Meanwhile, ear candling is not proven to help clean your ears at all and many people end up burning themselves by trying it.

Why a professional ear cleaning is best

Besides being safer than the other methods available, your audiologist can also provide a much more comprehensive, reliable clean. They use not only the kind of irrigation kits that are widely available to buy, but also tiny scooping instruments that can help them dislodge particularly stubborn build-ups of earwax. Given that they have the professional experience, as well as the vantage point to light and see into your ear clearly, they can ensure a level of clean that simply isn’t possible when doing it by yourself.

If you believe that your ears are in need of a clean, then a professional ear cleaning from your audiologist is the safest and most reliable way to go about it, so make your appointment today.