Ear & Balance
This is how an ENT Specialist removes your impacted earwax
February 1, 2020
Earwax is a waxy material made from sebum, dead skin and secretions from the ear canal. It helps protect the ears from dust, bacteria and other microorganism. The ear canal has a self-cleansing system in which it acts like a conveyor belt, pushing the wax outwards on its own. When you move your jaw (e.g while chewing or talking), you help the earwax migrate away from the eardrum to the ear opening and it drops off on its own. Hence, one should not need to dig his or her ears.
However, in some people, they may have a tendency for wax buildup which may block off the ear canals. Common reasons for frequent earwax buildups include:
- Frequent ear diggers
Putting a cotton bud (aka Q-tip) into the ear canal will push the earwax deeper and everything gets jam-packed against the eardrum. Digging the ear canals also stimulate more wax production
- People with small ear canals
Some people are born with smaller ear canals and may be more likely to get wax buildups
- People with dry skin on the outer ear
Some people may have dry, scaly skin just outside the ear canal (condition called dermatitis). The dry skin may extend into the outer part of the ear canal and cause wax buildup.
- People who use earbuds or plugs
for prolonged period of time
- Genetic predisposition
to more wax production
- Constantly exposed to a dirty or dusty environment
This may stimulate more production of earwax
If using earwax softeners (available from the Pharmacy) does not help you get rid of wax buildup, an ENT Specialist can remove your earwax in the clinic (look at the 2 videos below). This is done usually under microscope or endoscope guidance with a “mini-vacuum cleaner” (procedure is known medically as Aural Toilet). As the ear canal is quite small, magnification of the visual field is important to ensure that the ear canal and eardrums are not injured during the ear cleaning process.
Removal of earwax (aural toilet) under microscope guidance
If you are interested in the ultimate guide to earwax removal in Singapore, check out my aricle published in DxD by clicking on the following link: