Earwax is an essential part of your body’s natural defenses. It traps dirt and neutralizes bacteria, keeping your ear canal clean and clear. Too little earwax could lead to infections, while too much can plug your ears, reducing your hearing and causing pain from pressure in delicate locations.
Reaching for a cotton swab to clear earwax is effective only at making things worse. While there are some effective home care treatments, your best choice for fast and effective earwax removal is an ear care professional. In Sheridan, Wyoming, look to Sheridan Ear, Nose and Throat.
The role of earwax
Medically called cerumen, earwax is a sticky substance that resembles soft wax. It’s excreted in the outer third of the ear canal and works in conjunction with your ear hairs to trap foreign objects before they get too deep into the canal. Cerumen is naturally antibiotic in nature, so it slows and controls the growth of bacteria in the ear canal.
The constant production of earwax starts a migration process that’s aided by jaw movement when you eat and talk. This pushes wax forward to the opening of the ear canal, where it normally falls away or washes out when you bathe or shower. It’s not, however, water soluble, so it won’t dissolve when wet, a further protective characteristic.
When cerumen is a problem
Earwax is likely not something you think about often, until it becomes an issue. The most common problem is cerumen impaction. Literally, your ear becomes clogged with an overabundance of wax.
It’s possible for your body to start overproducing earwax, though the problem usually comes down to wax being pushed deep enough in the ear that the natural ejection system no longer pushes the wax forward. For people who use cotton swabs to clean inside the ear canal, it’s a common issue.
Hearing aid wearers also tend to have more earwax issues since the earpiece can also force wax deeper into the ears.
Do you need professional earwax removal?
If your ears are overly itchy, if you have pain in one or both, or if you think your hearing is getting worse, it’s time to visit Sheridan Ear, Nose, and Throat. Wax impaction can also cause ringing in the ear and dizziness, as well as a feeling that your ear is full or plugged.
When these symptoms arise, wax is blocking your ear canal behind the point where natural systems can force it out. Chances are, the cerumen has dried and hardened, further complicating its natural exit.
These conditions mean that any safe self-care treatments will typically take days to soften and release earwax, and you’ll likely need to repeat treatments to remove all wax. Professional earwax removal clears the problem in a single appointment, safely and thoroughly.
Dr. Scott Bateman and his team specialize in ear care, and they’re equipped to deal with your cerumen impaction. Contact Sheridan Ear, Nose and Throat today, by phone at 307-672-0290 or online, to schedule an appointment. Your earwax problems will be cleared in no time.