Ear Wax is an essential part of the hearing system. The term refers to a grey or yellowish substance that is waxy to the touch. This substance is present within the ear canal and is important because it not only helps with the lubrication within the ear but also because it helps keep bacteria, fungi, water, and insects at bay. Therefore, the substance itself is not a problem when it comes to your health. However, excess of ear wax can lead to problems, and this is when it needs to be treated.
Having large amounts of ear wax in the ear canal can cause problems with hearing and even lead to an acute loss of the same. Therefore, it is important to get the problem treated so that you can hear as clearly as you did before.
There are effective treatments for ear wax. You will either be given softeners which will allow the hardened wax to become pliable and easily removable or will be asked to go through a cleaning procedure with an ENT. In this procedure, a sterilized instrument shaped like a scoop will be used to scoop out the excess ear wax and clean out your ears.
The first step to getting the ear wax treatment done is to go and visit an ENT. The ENT will have a look inside your ear to see what the problem is and all that is needed for the diagnosis. There are no specific tests as this is something that can be confirmed visually. Once it is confirmed that your loss of hearing is because of too much ear wax, then the treatment can begin.
If there is hardened ear wax in your ear that cannot be removed without causing pain or injury, then the first step is to start with a softener. The softener can be anything like olive oil or castor oil. It will be administered with a dropper and put inside your ear so that the wax begins to get wet and get softer. Once that is achieved, it can be removed. Another way to administer the treatment is to simply scoop out the additional wax with the help of an instrument that is shaped like a scoop. It cleans out the entire ear and helps restore the hearing perfectly. Sometimes, additional items such as gauze will be used to clean the ears along with an antiseptic to ensure that no infection occurs. The procedure is generally painless though a little discomfort can be expected as the cleaning occurs.
If you are experiencing the loss of hearing or feeling as though your ear is congested or stuffed, then you can visit an ENT and seek the treatment for excess ear wax.
If you have an ear infection or are suffering from other medical conditions related to your ears, then you may not be eligible for the treatment. It all depends on what your doctor says about your problem.
There are no side effects to getting your ears cleaned. However, using an unsterilized instrument to clean the ear may cause infections. Furthermore, cleaning the ear harshly or without softening can lead to injury and pain.
There are no post treatment guidelines. Ear wax is natural and is a part of your system. Though you can get regular check-ups with your ENT to prevent a large scale build-up of ear wax.
The procedure to clean your ear can take anywhere between 15 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on whether the wax first needs to be softened or not. The recovery is immediate and your hearing will be restored immediately.
Getting your ears cleaned can cause anywhere between Rs. 200 – Rs. 1,000, depending on where you get the treatment from.
Since the building up of ear wax is natural, you can expect the condition to return if you do not clean your ears on a regular basis.
There is no alternative to the treatment. Using Q tips at home should be strictly avoided as they pack the wax further within the ear into a tighter mass, rather than helping you clean it all. They are very bad for you and should not be used.