Although ear wax is an essential part of life, keeping our ears safe from infection, dirt, and other foreign bodies, sometimes there can be a build up of wax that can begin to affect our lives, causing hearing loss, pain, and headaches. Hearings aids can cause excess wax to build up, as can old age amongst other reasons.
When this happens, the best thing to do is have the blockage – the extra wax builds up until it becomes like a plug in the ear – removed by professionals. It is possible to buy wax softening drops at pharmacies, but in order to ensure that all of the problematic wax has been removed, and to give you the best chance that it won’t return (at least not in the short term), going to a specific practitioner is the best plan.
Once way to remove the excess wax is via syringing, also known as ear irrigation. This is a well known technique, and it has been used for centuries, but is it entirely safe? Syringing involves inserting a pressurised flow of water into the ear canal, which should dislodge the ear wax enough that it either falls out, or can be taken out using tweezers, or similar medical tools. We have moved on from the days of metal syringes, and now a special electronic irrigator is used which means there is more control on the pressure of the water being used, but there is still the risk of damage to the ear canal and ear drum. And sometimes the ear wax that is meant to be taken out is actually pushed further in.
Many practitioners today find that microsuction (literally ‘sucking’ the ear wax out of the ear using a specifically designed machine) is a better – and safer – option. No water is introduced to the ear (so no risk of infection or damage), and since the wax is sucked out, there is no risk that it will be accidentally pushed back in. This method is fast (a normal procedure takes around 10 minutes), safe, and painless.