Alison Coetzee Audiology

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Myths and Facts – Alison Coetzee Audiology

Myths and Facts

How much do you really know about the oily substance in your ear canals and the do’s and don’ts of cleaning your ears?

Myth: If you have earwax in your ears then your ears are dirty.

Fact: Everyone produces earwax, it’s the body’s way of moisturizing the skin in the ear canal and clearing out any debris. However, some individuals struggle with over production of earwax, which calls for regular wax removal by a professional.

Myth: Earbuds are made for cleaning wax out of the ear canal.

Fact: There is no way of seeing what you are pushing around in your ear canal when you use an earbud. A lot of the time earbuds just end up pushing wax deeper into the ear canal to eventually form a wax plug in front of the eardrum. This can negatively impact your hearing and cause other symptoms such as ear pain, ringing in the ears, balance problems, and hearing your own voice amplified in your head. It is also very difficult to remove this plug once its formed.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you manage your earwax:

  • DO visit your audiologist if you suspect a wax blockage in your ear canal.
  • DO use drops of sweet oil in your ear canals the night before your wax removal appointment.
  • DO go for a yearly/ bi yearly wax removal if you know you are prone to excessive wax buildup.
  • DO see a medical doctor if there is any fluid leaking from your ear and/or you are experiencing severe ear pain.
  • DON’T use anything besides a washcloth to clean your ears.
  • DON’T use any wax drops containing acid if it has not been confirmed that there is indeed a wax blockage present in your ear canal. If you are prescribed these drops, never use it more than a few days.
  • DON’T book your wax removal appointment the day right before/after you’ve been diving under water or flying in an aeroplane.

If you are a hearing aid user, you might build up earwax a bit faster than the average non hearing aid user. The reason for this is that instead of the ear being allowed to push out earwax over time, the hearing aid is pushing the wax back into the ear canal every time you insert the hearing aid. It is therefore important to keep your hearing aid clean and consult your audiologist if you suspect your earwax is blocking sound from getting to the rest of the ear.

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