Ear Wax Removal

Los Angeles Ear Wax Removal Specialist

Cerumen, commonly known as Earwax is a naturally produced byproduct of the ear. Earwax is mostly made up of skin, natural oils produced by the ear, and dust. It does a number of things, earwax traps debris and moistens the ear. Without earwax, your ear canal dries out which can cause ear pain. Some people don’t produce as much ear wax as others. Some people produce harder, softer or more mucal ear wax. Ear wax can build up or become impacted in the ear canal, which can become painful or inhibit your hearing.

How Earwax is Professionally Removed

A common way to remove ear wax in urgent care or at your primary doctors office is to “flush” out the ear wax using a forceful saline or water injection into the ear canal to extract the wax. While this technique is often used, it is not recommended by our ENT surgeons as it can cause dangerous perforations and permanent hearing loss.

At LACENTA (Los Angeles Center for Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy) we use a variety of different techniques to safely remove ear wax. In order to safely remove wax, a microscope is used so that the provider has the ability to see the walls of the ear canal and the tympanic membrane very closely. It also allows the use of both hands while removing the wax. 

When there is not an excessive amount of ear wax impaction, a curet (a kind of metal loop) is used to gently scrape out and remove an excess build-up of earwax. When wax has built up significantly, a soft mixture of hydrogen peroxide is often used to soften it and then a small vacuum is inserted into the ear to suction out excessive earwax build up.

Sometimes, an auriscope (small camera) is inserted into the ear which the provider will use to determine the degree of build-up in the ear and whether an ear wax removal is called for. During the procedure, one of our providers will utilize this camera, which displays onto a large screen, to monitor the removal of the impaction.

Ear wax removal is generally a painless procedure, though some minor discomfort is not uncommon. Slight pain may be experienced with significant impaction removal. The removal procedure can be completed very quickly - it generally only takes a few minutes in most cases. 

Alternatives to Ear Wax Removal

There are a number of over-the-counter options for cleaning the ear. None are recommended by LACENTA. 

Q tips can dry up the natural lubricant of the ear. A Q-tip is okay for cleaning the outside of the ear, but once a q-tip enters into the ear canal you can potentially create a problem, such as a perforated eardrum (a hole in the eardrum) which can sometimes be difficult to fix. And even when it is fixable, eardrum repair is a significant surgery that carries with it risks and potential complications. 

Hydrogen Peroxide is not recommended as it needs to be properly diluted to be safe for the ear. If the solution is too strong it can damage the ear. There are over-the-counter products that can be purchased to soften the wax so it will be easier for the natural process of the ear to remove it.

Rubber Bulb Syringe using warm water is another common method. shooting water into the ear, if done too forcefully can damage your eardrum.

Ear candles should be avoided. There is no evidence that ear candles assist ear wax removal in any way and improperly performed can, in fact, lead to blockage of other complications such as ruptured eardrums or bleeding, according to the FDA.

Drops used to soften the wax are not always effective and often will not resolve an impacted blockage. 

Is Ear Wax Removal Right for Me?

Some of the symptoms of having impacted ear wax are:

Earache can often be caused by impacted ear wax, which can irritate or put pressure on the eardrum or contribute to infection.

A Blocked Feeling in the Ear is most frequently the result of Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. This tube ventilates the middle ear, and maintains equal pressure on each side of the eardrum. This function can be blocked or inhibited by impacted ear wax, resulting in a sensation that your ears a plugged up.

Loss of Hearing may be the result of ear wax build-up blocking the ear canal. This impaction physically blocks sound waves from reaching the eardrum and inner ear. An ear wax blockage is one of the primary causes of Conductive Hearing Loss

Tinnitus or Ringing in the Ear can be the result of impacted ear wax in the ear canal. This ringing can affect your focus as well as be an irritation. 

Dizziness or Vertigo can be caused by impacted ear wax affecting the tympanic membrane (eardrum) which is associated with balance. Disruptions can cause dizziness, vertigo and balance disorders, as well as nausea. 

Coughing can be caused by ear wax stimulating the branch of the vagus nerve which supplies the outer ear.

Dark or Black Earwax could indicate you are a candidate for earwax removal. Over time earwax turns darker accruing more debris (bacteria and dirt), if your ear is not evacuating the earwax produced at a proper rate it will become dark and could become impacted in the ear canal.

Consultation for Ear Wax Removal in Los Angeles

If you are concerned about impacted ear wax, your best option is to seek a consultation with our professional Otolaryngologists who can give you a proper examination and help you decide if an ear wax removal is right for you. Contact LACENTA today for the best ear wax removal Los Angeles has to offer.

How Earwax Is Professionally Extracted

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How Earwax Is Professionally Extracted

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