Earwax is a pain to deal with and it can do a lot of damage to hearing aids. However, earwax plays an important role in helping you remain healthy.
Removing excessive earwax might be necessary for better hearing and/or improved hearing aid performance, but a great deal of damage can result if it’s not done correctly. My team and I provide earwax removal services in New England as well as educate hearing aid users regarding the cleaning and maintenance necessary to get the most benefits from their device.
What is the Purpose of Earwax?
Cerumen, typically referred to as earwax, is an oily, waxy substance produced by glands in the ear canal. This substance traps contaminants and germs in order to prevent infections from reaching the eardrum and middle ear.
As you talk and/or chew your food, the motion slowly moves the wax with its trapped substances to the opening of the ear canal where it is easily wiped away with a cloth. However, sometimes earwax gets stuck and continues to build up until it blocks the ear canal, producing muffled sound or feedback issues if you wear a hearing aid.
Should You Remove Earwax Yourself?
Most people reach for tweezers, a cotton swab, or some other long, thin object to clear built up earwax from their ear canal. However, this is dangerous because if you slip or work too aggressively, you risk causing irreparable damage to your ear, especially your eardrum and middle ear.
Ear drops used for wax removal are less of a risk but may not be effective or can create irritation or infection by altering the natural cerumen production of your ear canal. Your safest option is to allow a hearing care professional to remove the wax by using specialized tools and expertise or through the use of drops that contain the proper pH to maintain ear health.
Earwax Can Damage Hearing Aids
Hearing aids tend to stimulate cerumen production while also blocking the natural migration of earwax out of your ears, contributing to buildup. Earwax buildup with hearing aids can create infections or irritation as well as muffle the amplified sound of your hearing device, leading to feedback (high-pitched whistling).
Along with interrupting device performance, earwax often finds its way into vent and receiver holes where it comes into contact with delicate internal components. In fact, degradation or damage to these components due to earwax accounts for 60% to 70% of all damaged hearing aids sent in for repair.
Controlling Earwax Improves Hearing Aid Performance and Longevity
Hearing aid wearers who tend to produce excessive amounts of earwax need to consult with a hearing care professional for frequent removal or to obtain earwax removal drops with the proper formula to help maintain a healthy balance of earwax production while avoiding irritation and/or infection.
The battle against earwax buildup is won by establishing consistent hearing aid cleaning and maintenance habits. Your hearing care professional provides instructions for proper hearing aid cleaning, which should be carried out daily.
Hearing aid maintenance includes removing earwax and debris from your device by using a soft brush or cloth as well as dislodging contamination stuck in the various holes in your device with a wax pick. Additional measures include changing wax guards or wax filters according to the instructions of your hearing aid manufacturer as well as bringing your instrument to your provider for scheduled clean/check appointments.
AVI New England Helps You to Manage Earwax
Hearing aid cleaning is crucial to instrument performance and longevity, which is why my team at AVI New England and I educate you on device cleaning and maintenance and offer professional cleaning and maintenance as part of our commitment to follow-up hearing care.
Our audiologists are also experts at safely removing earwax with our specialized equipment or provide our Norwalk and Hamden, CT patients with properly formulated earwax removal drops. Contact us with any concerns you have regarding earwax buildup or consult a hearing instrument specialist regarding hearing aid cleaning and maintenance.