Ear wax. It’s something we all have – and for good reason.

It protects our ear canal. It helps with natural cleaning and lubrication. And it provides a degree of protection against bacteria, fungi, water and insects (yes, we do have to remove them sometimes).

Ear wax is good. It’s important for the good health of our ears.

But too much? Well, that’s bad.

If it becomes excessive, or compacted, then we have a problem – often a loss of hearing due to external sounds not being able to make it to the eardrum.

 

Some fascinating facts about ear wax

Earwax comes in two types – wet and dry. Your type depends by and large on your genetic makeup. Those from north-eastern Asia are more likely to have dry ear wax, while ear wax for most people in other regions tends to be wet

The gene responsible for people having dry ear wax is also responsible for them having less body odour than those with wet ear wax. Who knew?

Scientists have discovered that ear wax can help in the diagnosis of certain diseases.  Take two odour-producing metabolic diseases that you’ve probably never heard of maple syrup urine disease (we’re not making this up) and alkaptonuria. They can be identified in ear wax long before being diagnosed using traditional blood and urine analysis

Earwax has been useful to anthropologists for studying mankind’s early migratory patterns

Odours in ear wax can often tell us what a person has eaten, or where in the world they have been (but don’t worry, if you come to us for ear wax removal treatment, we won’t sniff your ear wax. Promise).

 

Getting rid of excessive ear wax

Its not necessary to remove wax unless it becomes excessive or is affecting your hearing.When it does, there are some simple things you can do.

Softeners are available from high-street pharmacies and can be effective if the wax buildup isn’t too great.

One thing you should never do – never, ever do – is use cotton buds or anything like them to clean your ears, or to try and remove wax. This will only compact the wax and push it nearer to the eardrum. If you take one thing away from this blog post, please make it this.

Many GP practices will offer ear syringing, which pumps warm water into the ear to loosen and remove the wax. If the wax is compacted, you might need to have it removed at an ENT clinic. Some advocate ear candles – but certainly not us. They can be dangerous and aretotally ineffective.

 

The Correct Hearing way

Our audiologists at Correct Hearing have been trained to use the latest wax removal technology. We use the microsuction technique – it’s gentle, safe and effective, and completely syringe-free. And you will be able to see detailed images of your ear canal on screen before and after your wax is removed – if you want to, that is! A GP referral is not needed, and we can sometimes offer same-day appointments.