Earwax, or cerumen, is a naturally occurring substance in the ear canal that protects against bacteria, fungi, and insects. The earwax naturally migrates out of the ear canal, but can build-up over time. An excessive build-up can cause you to notice a decrease in hearing.
If you have turned on a television or opened a magazine, you have most likely seen some form of earwax removal tool being advertised. The products range from wax candles to devices that attempt to flush the wax from your ears. The most commonly used tool is, of course, the Q-tip. It can be hard to decide when it is time to remove wax and what the safest way is to remove it. It is important to reiterate that a little earwax is natural and constant cleaning of the ears is unnecessary. You should never stick or jab anything into the ear canal. At best, you may push the earwax deeper into your ear. At worst, you may earn yourself a trip to the doctor with a punctured eardrum.
Safe options for keeping your ears clean:
-Use wax removal tools around the outer ear, but never enter the ear canal
-Over-the-counter wax softeners, such as Debrox
-Visit your healthcare professional for removal.
If you have further questions, you can schedule an appointment at the Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute by calling (904) 399-0350.