Earwax Microsution Barnstaple

Earwax Buildup: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

 

Located in Torrinton a few minutes drive from Barnstaple, the Devon ear clinic normally has appointments available daily.

The ear canal is lined with sebaceous and ceruminous glands that produce a greasy, viscous substance called cerumen, more commonly known as earwax.

This oily secretion lubricates the ear canal and forms a protective covering over the delicate skin of the inner ear to trap invading germs, dust, and other irritants. Moreover, it serves as a medium for carrying dead skin cells and dust out of the ear.

Earwax is vital for the health of your ears but it can be a problem if it is secreted in excess amounts or accumulates over time.

Why Does Earwax Accumulate?

how does earwax accumulate inside the ear canal?

Earwax naturally migrates from the back of the ear canal toward the ear opening, assisted by the constant jaw motions while talking, chewing, and yawning. Once it reaches the ear opening, earwax dries up, turns flaky, and falls out of the ear on its own.

Any disruption in this natural migratory process can lead to the progressive buildup and hardening of cerumen within the ear canal known as impaction.

An overproduction of cerumen can also overwhelm the self-cleaning mechanism of the ear and cause an earwax buildup or blockage. (1)

Causes of Earwax Buildup/Blockage

what causes earwax buildup?

Ear wax removal Barnstaple North Devon

Need your ears syringing? We have appointments available weekly.

The following factors can lead to the buildup and impaction of cerumen, resulting in an ear blockage:

  • Certain ear infections such as swimmer’s ear can cause a narrowing of the outer ear canal due to inflammation and can pave the way for earwax accumulation.
  • Dermatological conditions such as eczema are characterised by hardened wax secretions and dry, flaky skin, both of which can contribute to excessive cerumen accumulation.
  • Autoimmune conditions such as lupus can also lead to excess earwax buildup.
  • Some trauma or blockage within the ear canal can also trigger an overproduction of cerumen, eventually resulting in a blockage.
  • Unnecessary ear cleaning by inserting your fingers, cotton swabs, or other invasive tools into your ear canal can push the wax deeper into the ear and lodge it against the eardrum.
  • Osteomata, which is characterized by the development of harmless bony protrusions in the external ear canal, can disrupt the self-cleaning mechanism of the ear.
  • The regular use of earplugs, music earplugs, or even hearing aids can push the earwax further into the ear canal, leading to blockage.

Signs and Symptoms of Earwax Buildup

Some of the signs and symptoms of the accumulation of excessive earwax include:

  • A feeling of blockage or fullness in the ear
  • Earache
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear
  • A foul smell coming from the ear
  • An uneasy sensation inside the ear
  • Hearing problems, including temporary deafness (2)
  • Itchiness in the ear
  • Ear discharge
  • Vertigo (dizziness)

Medical Treatment for Earwax Blockage

Your doctor decides the appropriate treatment after examining the extent of earwax impaction and ruling out an ear infection or a pierced or perforated eardrum.

treatment for earwax blockage Barnstaple North Devon

The standard treatment options for earwax removal include:

1. Ear drops

OTC hydrogen peroxide or enzyme-containing ear drops can be administered daily for a few days to dissolve the impacted earwax so that it can move more easily out of the ear canal.

2. Ear irrigation

This process involves flushing your ear canal with a controlled, pressurised flow of warm water to dislodge and expel the impacted/excess earwax.

Although ear irrigation can be done using a metal syringe, an electronic ear irrigator is a safer and medically preferred option. (3)

3. Microsuction

Microsuction is a slightly discomforting but largely painless medical procedure that requires the patient to stay very still as the earwax is suctioned out of the cavity.

The doctor may also use a small device such as a curette or a cerumen spoon to manually remove the impacted wax, usually when all the other methods have failed.

How Is Earwax Blockage Diagnosed?

Diagnosing an ear blockage involves the following steps:

1. Medical history

Your ENT doctor or otologist will first review your medical history and symptoms.

2. Ear exam

The doctor will then look inside your ear cavity through a magnifying tool called an otoscope for any sign of impacted earwax.

3. Banji’s test

Sometimes the impaction is so severe that it clogs the entire ear canal such that the doctor is unable to see through it and has to resort to other diagnostic techniques such as Banji’s test.

It involves pulling the pinna, or the outermost part of the visible ear, making room for the sound to travel through the congested ear canal and momentarily improving the patient’s hearing. However, if there is no improvement in sound perception, impaired hearing may be due to something other than cerumen impaction. (4)

Risk Factors

The following risk factors can make you increasingly predisposed to developing an earwax-induced blockage:

  • Certain anatomical features such as a narrow or underdeveloped ear canal can make you prone to earwax buildup.
  • Some people, such as those of East Asian descent, produce a less fluid form of cerumen that is more likely to clump and form a blockage.
  • This condition is more common in people with a history of impacted earwax and recurrent ear infections.
  • People with excessive hair growth in the ear canals have a higher likelihood of developing earwax blockages.
  • People tend to secrete harder and drier earwax as they get older, which is then more prone to impaction.

Possible Complications

complications of excessive earwax buildup

Barnstaple ear wax removal

Earwax blockage due to cerumen accumulation/impaction can lead to the following complications if it is not treated properly or if it escalates to a serious degree:

  • Ruptured eardrum
  • Middle ear infection
  • Outer ear infection such as swimmer’s ear
  • Vertigo characterised by dizziness and disorientation, typically when the earwax gets pushed against the eardrum or tympanic membrane
  • Persistent tinnitus, marked by a ringing or buzzing sound in your ear

When to See a Doctor

Prompt medical assistance is particularly warranted if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistently high fever
  • Constant nausea
  • Severe vertigo that can disrupt your body balance to such a degree that it becomes difficult for you to walk
  • Sudden loss of hearing
  • Yellow or green pus-like discharge from the ear canal
  • Acute ear pain or bleeding after inserting an ear cleaning object into the affected ear canal

Final Word

Your ear is a self-cleaning organ that gradually but systematically eliminates the old earwax. Thus, deep cleaning your ears is not required unless there is enough earwax buildup to cause symptoms such as earache or hearing problems.

There are some self-care measures and home therapies that may assist with the expulsion of excess earwax but refer to an ear specialist before starting self-treatment.

Ears Microsuctioned at our Torrington ear clinic. See our fees page for more info

Barnstaple ear wax removal,

Ear wax, to oil or not to oil?

 

To Oil or Not to Oil?

I get asked this question everyday and the quick answer is – yes, mostly it is of benefit!

But let’s look at the complexities more closely – firstly we need to establish whether the full feeling, pain, or itchiness in your ear/ears is due to wax or infection (normally Otitis externa – an outer ear infection).  If you felt you were experiencing the latter (there is a watery discharge and usually pain) then oil is of no benefit – head straight to your GP for a swab of the ear canal and possible antibiotics.

South Molton ear wax removal

 

However if we are certain that the blocked feeling is due to wax then yes – oil is a benefit. There are just two important rules here when oiling – volume and frequency.

Our goal here is to just oil the canal and soften the wax slightly.  If we over-oil then we end up spreading the wax over the surface of the ear drum which is less comfortable to have suctioned off.

So the key is to oil only one day prior (two applications is satisfactory). Using an eye dropper is the easiest – half fill the eye dropper with plain olive oil – lying on your side is the easiest way – slowly insert the oil – massage the tragus (The tragus is a small pointed eminence of the external ear) gently post application, as oil likes to sit in a bubble sometimes and massaging will allow it to penetrate deep into the canal.  Stay lying on your side for 5 – 10 minutes. Use a cotton ball or piece of tissue to catch any excess oil.

Ear wax removal near Bude Cornwall

 

There is only one exception to the rule.  In this case, we would NOT apply oil if we (as above suspected an outer ear infection) or suspected a perforated ear drum (Tympanic Membrane). A perforation is usually associated with pain, hearing loss and normally a discharge but not always.  Oil would be of no value and we do not want oil to seeping into the middle ear space.

If you are unsure if oiling is going to be of value prior to Microsuction then a quick chat on the telephone or popping into our clinic for a quick view through the microscope might be the better option.

Torrington ear wax clinic

Bideford Ear wax Removal

We are based Near Bideford and are a dedicated ear wax removal clinic.

 

We are based Near Bideford and are a dedicated ear wax removal clinic. We are constantly hearing stories about cotton buds and ear wax, but have you ever heard that you shouldn’t stick cotton buds in your ears? Maybe you’ve even read the back of a box of q-tips. If so, you know that q-tips are not designed to clean your ears.

Cleaning your ears with a q-tip may cause damage to the eardrum, and could force earwax further down your ear canal, causing a blockage. Doctors are very serious about proper ear care, and they stress that you should never use a q-tip to clean the earwax from your ears.

Microsuction ear wax removal Bideford

 

If q-tips aren’t doctor recommended, what is the best way to clean my ears?

The safest and most effective method for removing earwax is by applying a few drops of olive oil, mineral oil, or over-the-counter ear drops into the ear canal. These fluids will help to break down the wax, and allow it to naturally work its way out. While this method may work for those with average earwax production, it may not be enough for those that naturally produce an excess of earwax.

To further loosen earwax, it is recommended that you lightly irrigate the ear canal. This can be done by running water from your hand to your ear, or by tilting your head in the shower. Make sure the incoming water pressure is very low and let the water rest in your ear canal for a few minutes before tilting your head back to its normal resting position. Warm water will help to loosen the ear wax, but make sure it’s not too hot.

If you continue to experience excess earwax production it is recommended that you receive professional ear cleaning services several times a year.

If you’re concerned with your earwax production and are experiencing discomfort, hearing difficulties, or itching or drainage from the ear canal, you should consult with your doctor immediately.

We use Microsuction for the removal of ear wax which is now the preferred method the NHS recommend

If you live in or near Bideford and would like a quick appointment without the wait or the travel to Barnstaple contact us by phone or here.

Earwax Microsution Barnstaple

Do’s and don’ts of ear wax removal

Barnstaple Ear wax removal

Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a grey, orange or yellow material made in the ear canal. It cleans and protects the ears from bacteria, dust, foreign particles, and microorganisms. In normal conditions, wax works its way out of the canal and into the ear opening naturally. However, when there is a build-up of wax, there are many ways to remove it. Some are safe, and some are not. Let’s review best practices for dealing with ear wax.

Appointments available within two working days at the Devon Ear Clinic

Do’s

 

  1. Do understand that ear wax is normal. If it does not block the ear canal or impede your hearing, it can be left as is.
  2. Do know the symptoms of ear wax build-up. These include decreased hearing, ear fullness, ringing in the ears, and changes to hearing aid functionality (distortion, etc.).
  3. Do seek medical help if you experience a change in hearing, ringing, or fullness in your ears, and/or ear pain. Other conditions may exhibit symptoms like ear wax build-up, such as ear infections. See a medical professional to rule these out if you experience any of the previously mentioned signs.
  4. Do ask a medical professional prior to using at-home remedies to remove ear wax. Certain medical conditions can make some at-home remedies unsafe. your specialist might suggestion ear irrigation or micro suction as the best option for you.

Bideford ear wax removal

Don’ts

  1. Don’t clean your ears too much. Over cleaning can cause irritation or infection of the ear canal and can even cause the wax to build up.
  2. Don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. Avoid using cotton swabs, bobby pins, keys, paper clips, etc. to clean or scratch your ears. These can cause damage to your ear canal — such as a cut, or even puncture of the eardrum — which can lead to many other issues.
  3. Don’t use ear candles. Studies have shown ear candling does not reduce the amount of wax in individuals’ ear canals. Additionally, ear candling can damage the ear canal and eardrum.
  4. Don’t forget to clean your hearing aids as recommended by your hearing healthcare professional. Click here for more information on how to clean your hearing aids.

If you need professional ear wax removal and you are in the Barnstaple area we are just 20 minutes drive away In Torrington and have daily availability. Please call for an appointment.

Please see our fees page for more details

Barnstaple Microsuction earwax removal,

Barnstaple Microsuction earwax removal

 

Can you think of something you do that’s nearly irresistible, widely popular, but a bad idea that’s based on a health myth? That’s right, I’m talking about inserting cotton-tipped swabs into your ears.

According to guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, experts strongly discourage twirling cotton-tipped swabs in the ears. Here’s why.

  1. It’s unnecessary

The ear is self-cleaning. No routine maintenance is required. If you’re inserting swabs into your ears to remove earwax or prevent its buildup, think again. Earwax is produced within the ear canal and naturally migrates from deeper inside to outside. There are exceptions, of course. Some people make more than the average amount of earwax, and for others (especially older adults) it becomes harder and drier than usual. Even in these situations, inserting a swab inside the ear is not the answer. More on this in a moment.

  1. It may be harmful

Inserting a cotton tipped swab (or anything else) into the ear can damage the ear canal or eardrum, or push earwax farther into the canal, making it harder to remove. This may cause a feeling of pressure in the ear and diminished hearing. Even worse, clumps of earwax pushed down near the eardrum can lead to painful ear infections.

  1. Earwax is not a sign of poor hygiene

Here’s where there seems to be some misunderstanding. Earwax — the medical term is “cerumen” — is there for good reasons. Among other things, cerumen:

  • is a natural moisturiser, preventing the skin inside the ear from becoming too dry
  • traps dirt and dust before they can reach deep into the canal
  • absorbs dead skin cells and debris
  • prevents bacteria and other infectious organisms from reaching the inner ear.

Some people make more earwax, while others make less. The makeup of earwax varies depending on ethnicity, age, environment, and even diet. While there seems to be a certain “ick” factor associated with earwax, it’s not a reflection of uncleanliness; in fact, it’s a sign of normal, healthy ears.

What to do about “cerumenosis”

Buildup of earwax can cause symptoms. When it does, doctors call it “cerumenosis” and recommend over-the-counter ear drops that can soften earwax and allow it to exit the ear more easily (with gentle irrigation, such as during a shower). Or, a healthcare provider can look inside your ear and use instruments specifically designed to remove earwax.

 

You can book an appointment with the Devon Ear Clinic which is situated very close to Barnstaple In North Devon. Here we use Microsuction to remove the earwax.  

In conclusion…

There’s a reason the makers of cotton-tipped swabs put this warning on their packaging: “Do not insert swab into ear canal. Entering the ear canal could cause injury.” But, it still goes on. Perhaps it’s just too tempting or satisfying. Perhaps no one reads the labels of the products they use. Or maybe the myths about earwax are too ingrained to be easily dispelled by facts. Whatever the reasons, now you know to stop putting cotton-tipped swabs into your ears. And that also goes for unfolded paper clips, pen caps, or whatever else you’ve been using!

Devon ear clinic based near Barnstaple at Torrington. only a 20 minute drive.

See our fee page for more details. 

 

Barnstaple Microsuction earwax removal

Barnstaple-North Devon- Microsuction-Ear-wax-removal

Ears syringing in Barnstaple? Only 20 mins away

 

Ears syringed in Barnstaple? Torrington is only 20 minutes away from Barnstaple to get yours ears “syringed”.

We have been open now for 4 weeks and seen people from Hartland to Holsworthy and beyond.  We have removed a fair amount of ear wax in this time and are very happy that clients are so relieved they can hear again and not have that dull feeling in their ears.

North Devon ear syringing clinic

 

Most of our clients have been seen within a couple of days and have taken advantage of the “urgent appointment”* we offer. Some are just glad to get seen.  We know that Barnstaple has a bit of a waiting list to be seen for ear wax removal, so if you wanted to drive over to Torrington we can probably at the moment fit you in early. It takes only 20 minutes by car.

Torrington, like other areas, is now back open, and what a relief this is for everyone.  So if you wanted a drive out and have a mooch around before or after the quick visit to unblock your ears, it would be a bit of a revelation for what’s on offer.  The Pannier market is back open and the local bakery’s have some of the best food around. They also do lovely coffee too!

Click here for Microsuction fees 

So if your ears are blocked and need to be “syringed”, (we use Microsuction these days for most wax removal as it’s safer), ear wax removal appointments are available.

Call now to get an appointment.

*Urgent appointments are within 2 working days and come at a premium price. See website for details.