Did you know? Your ears are self-cleaning. Earwax (medically known as cerumen) cleans, lubricates and protects your inner ear from bacteria and debris. Earwax is not a sign of poor hygiene and in most cases, you do not need to remove it. But sometimes, earwax can become impacted. When this happens, it's important to remove it correctly to avoid the risk of perforating your ear drum.
How much does earwax removal cost?
Earwax removal in Canada ranges from $45 to $75. It will depend on the hearing clinic, extent of the removal, and your insurance coverage.
Note: The Ontario Health and Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not cover the cost of earwax removal. There is an exception if your doctor removes your earwax.
If you have hearing concerns, visit a hearing clinic near you that offers earwax removal. A hearing professional will check for excess earwax before your hearing test.
Signs of earwax blockage
Too much earwax can block sound from entering your ear and trap irritants in your ear. These irritants can further cause an ear infection. Signs of earwax blockage include:
Earwax buildup can also produce inaccurate results during a hearing test.
Should you remove earwax yourself?
You should only remove earwax yourself once it's naturally pushed out of the ear canal.
Many devices and gimmicks for earwax removal on the market can cause more harm than good. Be cautious of devices that encourage self-removal of earwax. Some are not effective and can cause further problems.
Do not attempt self-removal with cotton swabs (Q-tips), ear candling or other DIY tools. They can push the wax deeper or lead to injury. In rare cases, you can perforate your ear drum.
Steps involved in professional ear cleaning
Ear cleaning by a trained practitioner is a quick, routine procedure.
Your hearing specialist will first need informed consent and a short case history. It is important for your practitioner to know more about your health and history of your ears.
Tell your practitioner of any ear-related surgeries you've had. You should also say if you are on certain medications such as blood thinners.
With this, your practitioner can make an educated decision on how to approach removal.
Your hearing practitioner may need you to soften the wax for easier removal. This may involve putting drops of oil and/or peroxide in your ears. Only do this as directed by your hearing practitioner.
Trained hearing specialists use curettes or loops to gently scoop out earwax. They may also use a warm water irrigation system to flush out the earwax.
Removal is not always successful on the first attempt. Your practitioner may tell you to do another round of oil/peroxide drops to try again.
If your practitioner still cannot remove the wax, he or she may refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat physician instead.
Does ear candling work?
Ear candling is the attempted removal of earwax using a hollow cone lit with fire at the top. One person inserts the unlit end in the ear while the person lays on his or her side.
Some think ear candling draws earwax out the ear using heat and suction. But ear candling can cause serious burns. It can also cause further ear blockage from the candle wax, even a punctured eardrum.
Seek professional help for earwax removal. This ensures a safe and effective removal process tailored to your specific needs.
Hearing aids and earwax
Hearing aids come with wax guards to prevent earwax buildup in the device. These wax guards should be cleaned daily and replaced periodically.
Your hearing aids should come with a cleaning kit to help remove the earwax. Contact your hearing professional if you require these tools.
Risk factors for impacted earwax
Impacted earwax is more common among people:
If you are an older adult with impacted wax, earwax removal can improve your ability to hear by up to 75%. Visit a hearing clinic near you today and find out if earwax removal can improve your hearing.