5 ear wax removal myths busted
Oct 28, 2021 in Hearing Care
For 99.9% of your life, it’s likely you won’t give ear wax a second thought. It does its job without too much fuss. But every once in a while, it can become a problem. And that’s when it's useful to know the facts.
Below, we have busted five common myths surrounding the topic to help you make informed choices and avoid any damage to your ears.
Myth 1 – “Ear wax doesn’t have any function and should always be removed”
Ear wax actually plays an important role in keeping your ears healthy and clean. Ear wax, or cerumen, is secreted into your ear canal by the sebaceous and apocrine glands in your outer ear. When it makes its way out of your ear canal, it takes dirt and bacteria along with it. In other words, your ears have their own cleaning system. It is possible however for a build-up of excessive earwax to occur, causing symptoms such as hearing loss, itching, ringing in the ear, and pain. This can happen if you have narrow or damaged ear canals, inflammation of your ear canal (otitis externa or ‘swimmer’s ear’), or other conditions.
Myth 2 – “Using cotton buds is the best and safest way to remove ear wax”
If you are struggling with a build-up of ear wax and are looking for a quick fix, it may be tempting to clear it with a cotton bud at home. All advice warns against this. Using a cotton bud can push the ear wax further into the ear, potentially making it worse or causing an infection. It could also cause a ruptured eardrum. This, in turn, can also leave your ear vulnerable to infection (as well as being generally unpleasant!).
Myth 3 – “Ear candles are tested and recommended”
Ear candling is a technique that involves placing a lit, hollow, cone-shaped candle into the ear canal. The idea is that the heat of the candle creates a suction that pulls ear wax and other impurities out of the ear canal. There is no evidence to show that it is an effective technique for removing ear wax, or that it benefits the ear in any way. In fact, ear candling can be dangerous, causing burns to the face and ear, as well as hearing loss from candle wax falling into the ear canal.
Myth 4 – “My GP is the only individual capable of removing ear wax safely”
At Leightons, we offer an ear wax removal service that is gentle and effective, carried out by experts. All of our experienced audiologists are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) so you can feel confident that you are in capable hands.
Myth 5 – “Ear syringing is painful and the only option available to me”
When carried out correctly by a trained audiologist or GP, ear syringing should be painless and only take a few minutes. However, there are plenty of other professional methods for removing ear wax safely that can offer a comfortable experience with the same effective results in clearing wax. At Leightons, we use three trusted methods: manual removal, microsuction, and water irrigation. Our experienced audiologists will use the latest technology to assess your hearing, before recommending the best course of action for you.
Get your ear wax build-up seen to by an expert
Get in touch today to find out more about our ear wax services*. Learn more or call us on 0800 40 20 20.
*PLEASE NOTE: We may not be able to treat you if you are on a blood thinner dosage of 10mg or more.