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Safe & Effective Ear Wax Removal in Singapore

Most of us know that ear wax is meant to protect the sensitive parts inside our ears. Their main purpose is to filter dust, dirt, and other microscopic particles from entering the innermost areas of the ear. However, ear wax can accumulate excessively after a period of time, causing ear wax problems not only in young children but also in adults. The most common problem caused by a buildup of ear wax is known as ear wax blockage, which necessitates ear wax removal. Since the buildup of wax inside the ear hinders our hearing and often leads to itchiness and irritation, one should consult an ENT specialist for regular ear wax removal.

If You Are Experiencing The Following:

  1. Severe pain in your ear
  2. Pain in your ear that doesn’t subside
  3. Drainage from your ear
  4. Sudden or partial temporary hearing loss

You might be suffering from excessive earwax buildup.

Ear Wax

What Is Ear Wax?

Ear wax is actually dead skin from the ear. It is normal and is even healthy when kept in an adequate amount. It also has antibacterial properties and helps to trap dust that enters the ear, facilitating the self-cleaning mechanism of the ear. In 90% of individuals, the ear has a self-cleaning ability, making it unnecessary to clean with cotton buds or ear diggers. In fact, over-cleaning the ears can lead to more wax production, which can be treated through ear wax removal. In some patients with skin conditions like eczema, it can lead to accelerated ear wax production. In these patients, it can lead to impacted ear wax. Patients can experience hearing loss or ear infections with pain and discharge from impacted ear wax. As there is always a chance of developing excess ear wax, it is advisable to see your ENT doctor for ear wax removal regularly in order to avoid infection and other complications.

What Is Impacted Ear Wax?

Most patients consulting the clinic for ear wax removal are suffering from impacted ear wax, with hearing loss as a key symptom. Experts always warn the public against the use of cotton buds and ear diggers for a reason. When you put something inside the ear canal to remove the ear wax, you are actually pushing some of the wax deeper inside, causing the wax to stick to the other parts of your inner ear, resulting in impacted ear wax. Because of this, the eardrum is obstructed and this results in hearing loss and potentially ear infections. ENT doctors in Singapore will need to remove the impacted wax using ear vacuum suction under microscopic vision for it to be safe. The ear wax removal procedure is known as an aural toilet. Ear Syringing is not always recommended as it introduces extra moisture into the ear canal and can potentially lead to injury of the eardrum.

Causes Of Ear Wax Buildup

Ear wax buildup, also known as cerumen impaction, occurs when too much ear wax accumulates in the ear canal. Several factors can contribute to the buildup, requiring ear wax removal:

  • Overproduction of ear wax: Some individuals naturally produce more ear wax than others and this can increase the likelihood of buildup and blockage in the ear canal.

  • Improper ear hygiene: Cleaning the ears with cotton swabs or other objects can push the ear wax deeper into the ear canal, leading to impaction. This habit disrupts the natural process of ear wax removal and increases the risk of buildup.

  • Narrow or curvy ear canals: People with narrower or more curved ear canals may be more prone to ear wax buildup as the shape of the ear canal makes it difficult for the wax to naturally migrate out of the ear.

  • Use of hearing aids or earplugs: Wearing hearing aids, earplugs, or earphones can interfere with the normal flow of ear wax. These devices can sometimes push the wax further into the ear canal, contributing to blockage over time.

  • Ageing: As people age, the consistency of ear wax can change. It may become drier and harder, making it more challenging for the ear to naturally expel it.

  • Skin conditions: Certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, can affect the ear canal's skin and lead to excessive ear wax production or alter its consistency. This then contributes to ear wax buildup.

  • Ear abnormalities: Structural abnormalities in the ear canal, such as narrow canals, tumours, or bony growths, can impede the natural movement of ear wax out of the ear, causing it to accumulate and result in blockage.

Symptoms Of Ear Wax Buildup

The symptoms of ear wax buildup may vary from person to person, but common signs to watch out for include:

  • Ear pain: Accumulated ear wax can put pressure on the eardrum or irritate the delicate lining of the ear canal, leading to discomfort or pain in the affected ear.

  • Partial hearing loss: Ear wax buildup can obstruct the passage of sound waves into the ear canal, resulting in decreased hearing ability. Sounds may seem muffled or distorted.

  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus refers to the perception of ringing, buzzing, or other phantom sounds in the ear. Ear wax impaction can cause tinnitus in some individuals.

  • Feeling of fullness: A sense of fullness or blockage in the ear is a common symptom of ear wax buildup. It may feel as if something is blocking the ear canal.

  • Itching or irritation: Excessive ear wax can cause itching or irritation in the ear canal. This discomfort may be accompanied by redness or inflammation.

  • Dizziness or vertigo: In some cases, ear wax impaction can affect the inner ear, leading to dizziness or a sensation of spinning (vertigo).

  • Foul odour or discharge: If the earwax becomes impacted for an extended period, it may produce an unpleasant odour. In rare cases, an accumulation of earwax can cause discharge from the ear.

Pros And Cons Of Ear Wax Removal

Pros Cons
Relief from symptoms: Ear wax removal can alleviate symptoms such as ear pain, hearing loss, tinnitus, and a plugged sensation, allowing for improved comfort. Relief from symptoms: Ear wax removal can alleviate symptoms such as ear pain, hearing loss, tinnitus, and a plugged sensation, allowing for improved comfort.
Prevention of complications: In some cases, untreated ear wax buildup can lead to complications, such as ear infections or eardrum perforation. Prompt ear wax removal can help prevent such complications. Risk of recurrence: Ear wax is a natural substance that helps protect the ear canal. While removing excessive ear wax can provide temporary relief, it does not prevent future wax production. Ear wax buildup may recur, necessitating periodic removal.
Improved hearing: By clearing the ear canal of blockage, ear wax removal restores normal hearing, which can enhance communication, social interactions, and overall quality of life. Cost: Depending on the method used for ear wax removal, there may be associated costs, especially if seeking professional assistance or using specialised equipment.

Commonly Asked Questions

It's not recommended. Cotton swabs can push wax deeper, leading to impaction or damage. Instead, use a damp cloth to clean the outer ear, and let the ear canal clean itself naturally.
You can use over-the-counter ear drops to soften the wax, and then rinse your ear with warm water using a bulb syringe. Consult a doctor before attempting any home removal methods.
If you're experiencing symptoms of excessive ear wax or have a history of ear issues, it's best to consult a healthcare professional. They can safely assess the situation and provide appropriate treatment.
Healthcare professionals might use methods like irrigation (flushing with warm water), suction, or manual removal using special instruments. The method chosen depends on the extent of wax buildup and the patient's health.
No, ear candling is not recommended. It involves placing a hollow cone-shaped candle in the ear and lighting it, supposedly creating a vacuum to remove wax. However, it's ineffective and can be dangerous, causing burns, ear canal injuries, and pushing wax deeper.
Excessive cleaning, especially with cotton swabs or other objects, can disrupt the ear's natural cleaning process and lead to more wax accumulation. Gentle cleaning of the outer ear is sufficient; the inner ear canal should be left alone.
Yes, some individuals naturally produce more ear wax or have narrower ear canals, making them more prone to wax buildup. People who frequently use earphones or hearing aids may also experience increased wax accumulation.

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