Understanding Ear Wax and Safe Removal

We all have a box of those cotton swabs in our houses. You know, the ones that say “do not place them in your ears.” But how many times have you thought, well, I’ll just do it this once? Our audiologist in Johns Creek is here to tell you why this is not a good idea – even just once.  

The Role of Ear Wax: Understanding Its Importance 

Ear wax, also known as cerumen in the medical world, is designed to protect your ear! It accomplishes its important job by: 

  • Trapping and preventing dust, bacteria, and other germs and small objects from entering and potentially damaging the ear.  
  • Protecting the sensitive skin of the ear canal from getting irritated by water in the shower or when swimming. 
  • Carrying dead skin cells and other debris out of your ear.  
  • Preventing your ears from drying out.  

Everyone’s ears have wax. It’s made by glands inside your ear canals and can be wet or dry depending on your genetic makeup. People of European and African descent typically have wet earwax, which is the more common type and those of Asian ancestry usually have dry earwax, which can be flaky and is the recessive version of the waxy substance.  

Ear wax is primarily composed of dead skin cells and hair, but also contains a few other key ingredients that help it work properly, including: 

  • Keratin, a type of protein found in hair, skin and nails 
  • Cholesterol, a waxy substance found in the blood  
  • Fatty acids, saturated and unsaturated, including wax and alcohol esters 
  • Squalene, a natural lubricant 

If your ear wax is off-white, yellow, orange, light brown, dark brown, chances are it is healthy ear wax.  

Recognizing the Signs of Impacted Ear Wax 

From time-to-time, your ear may produce excess ear wax; that is not necessarily a sign that ear wax removal services are needed. Your ears are self-cleaning, however, if left untreated, this excess can build up. If your ear wax turns black, that is a sign that your ear wax is impacted and causing a blockage of your ear canal and Professional Ear Wax Removal in Johns Creek could be required.  

You should also seek medical treatment from an audiologist or ear, nose, and throat physician if your ear wax is green (signs of an ear infection) or brown with red streaks (sign of trauma inside the ear).  

Other than the color of your ear wax changes, common signs of impacted ear wax are: 

  • Earache 
  • Itching in your ear 
  • Ringing in your ear, also known as tinnitus 
  • An unpleasant smell coming from your ear  
  • A feeling of fullness in your ear 
  • Diminished hearing 
  • Hearing aid malfunction 

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these signs of ear wax blockage, seek ear wax removal services in Johns Creek at Newtown Hearing Center.  

The Importance of Professional Ear Wax Removal 

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, if your ears are functioning properly, you should leave your ear wax alone. Even if they feel wet, don’t use cotton swabs; the moisture is your ears making more wax.  

Also, do not try to remove your ear wax with hairpins or similar objects. You should also avoid ear candling or vacuum kits, as they can cause ear canal trauma or burns. To prevent injury or damage your hearing, professional ear wax removal should be your course of action.  

The Procedure: Safe and Effective Ear Wax Removal 

At Newtown Hearing Center, we know how to soften and safely remove earwax through either manual removal or micro-suction.  Our audiologist in Johns Creek will determine which method is best for you based on your medical history and the exam performed before ear wax removal services are rendered.  

Professional ear wax removal uses special instruments such as a wax spoon, suction device or ear forceps (a long thin tool used to grab earwax).  

Once the impacted ear wax is removed, your ears may feel sensitive for a few hours, which is totally normal. At Newtown Hearing Center, our goal is to keep you as comfortable as possible, so we can apply a topical ointment to alleviate discomfort if needed.  

Maintaining Ear Health: Prevention and Regular Check-ups 

To help prevent ear wax blockage and hearing loss, regular check-ups with an audiologist or physician are a good idea. You can also apply some good daily habits for maintaining your ear health and preventing hearing loss, including: 

  • Avoiding repetitive exposure to loud noise  
  • Wearing ear plugs at concerts 
  • Discontinuing the use of cotton swabs 
  • Being aware of the signs of impacted ear wax and potential hearing loss 

If you think you need professional ear wax removal services in Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Roswell or a nearby area, Newtown Hearing Center can help! Our caring and knowledgeable team is standing by to provide you with quality care in a comfortable environment. Contact us today to schedule your ear wax removal performed by an audiologist.