What is ear wax and why is it a problem?

Sep 11, 2018 in Hearing Care

Man extracting wax out of patients ear

If you're experiencing discomfort, pain or itching in your ears, it may be because you have a build-up of ear wax.

What is ear wax?

Ear wax, or cerumen, is secreted into your ear canal by the sebaceous and apocrine glands in your outer ear. It is usually a brown, yellow or grey colour, and sticky and moist in texture.

It might sound yucky, but ear wax is perfectly normal – in fact, it helps protect against bacteria and contributes to clean, healthy ears. It works by slowly making its way out of your ear canal, taking dirt with it. Yes, we have self-cleaning ears.

Ear wax is made up of three things:

  • Old skin cells
  • Dust and debris
  • Oily secretions from modified sweat glands

What problems can ear wax cause?

Ear wax is a sign of healthy ears, and nothing to worry about. However, in some cases, our ears can produce too much wax and cause blockages. This can be the result of improper care: using cotton buds, for example (to find out why that’s a bad idea, read this.

Symptoms of excessive ear wax include:

  • Partial or total hearing loss
  • Itching
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Pain

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms and think you may have a problematic build-up of ear wax, book an ear wax removal appointment at Leightons now. Call 0800 40 20 20 or book online.

Ear wax removal at Leightons

Ear wax removal is now available at all branches of Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care. Of course, you don’t want anyone poking about in your ears. That’s why all our trained and experienced audiologists are registered with the HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) and are members of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists.

How we do it

We use three different methods to remove wax from your ear:

MANUAL REMOVAL Wax is gently removed using a Jobson Horne, a long thin instrument with a circular loop tip Manual removal is suitable for small build-ups of wax near the entrance to the ear canal

MICROSUCTION Wax is removed by inserting a fine suction tube into the ear canal Microsuction is the cleanest and safest method of ear wax removal

WATER IRRIGATION Low-pressure water, heated to match your body temperature, flushes out wax in the ear canal Water irrigation is safer, gentler and more effective than old-style 'syringing' methods

Book your ear wax removal appointment

Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care offers an expert ear wax removal service.

Ear wax removal costs £70 for both ears.

Call us on 0800 40 20 20 or book online.