Sometimes, hearing loss is temporary and can be fixed with a quick office visit. For different reasons, earwax can become impacted inside the ear canal and block the eardrum. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of hearing loss but don’t think it’s appropriate for your lifestyle or age, we can check to see if earwax might be causing it.
At NYHD, we understand that each patient comes to us with different possible causes, so we can take a complete look at the possible factors. If earwax is causing your hearing problems, we can perform extraction and make sure you know what steps to take going forward.
Earwax plays a very important part in protecting and preserving your ear canal’s functions. It’s a waxy substance that can be thin or thick, depending on its location and buildup. Inside the ear canal, it’s secreted to protect the delicate and thin skin that lines the passageways, preventing bacteria and debris from entering and causing infections. Even when you attempt to regularly clean it out from the outer part of your ear, it can become built up in the canal and become stuck. This usually happens because of Q-tips or cotton swabs, which can actually push the earwax further in. Earwax can also build up in the ear canals if you wear hearing aids or in-ear headphones. If this happens, you’ll have to have it professionally cleaned out.
Built up earwax can contribute to temporary hearing loss because it can block the pathway to the eardrum. Additionally, it can cause pressure, pain, and tinnitus if it’s not treated and continues to build. It’s also important to assess your earwax buildup because it can be indicative of certain health problems like autoimmune diseases, skin diseases, and infections. Some people are more prone to earwax buildup because of their anatomy. In this case, our Doctors of Audiology may recommend you see us regularly for cleaning.
We can begin our assessment by discussing your symptoms and possible causes, and then perform a physical examination with some special instruments to look inside your ear for obstructions. There are a few different ways that blockages can be treated, depending on your anatomy and how much earwax is present. Sometimes, special ear drops can be used to break up earwax so that it can be drained from the ear canal. Another method is called irrigation, and it includes flushing out the ear canal with a saline solution. Lastly, earwax can be removed manually using some special tools. Our preferred method of removing earwax is through gentle irrigation with body-temperature water. This method is effective and very comfortable.
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms because of impacted earwax, our Doctors of Audiology can help you get relief at our New York City office. To schedule a consultation and discuss your options, contact our office by calling (212) 774-1971 or filling out our online form.