This month I will share my not so secret favorite thing about my Audiology practice. I love cerumen removal.
My husband half-jokingly calls it a sickness of mine, but that is because he is required to have me remove his over-production of earwax about every three months. My two sons have also gotten this gene from their dad. My oldest who is a Marine now has had other health professionals remove his ear wax, but always says I am the best at it.
First, earwax is not bad. Quite the opposite. It is a needed substance (when produced normally) to help keep the ear canal clean. It also helps to keep icky things from crawling inside your ear.
Most of the time, we do not need to “clean” our ear canals and when people try to, they usually stimulate the production of more wax and eventually everyone will give themselves a hematoma (blood blister). The skin in the ear canal is thin and irritates easily.
Much of the time when cotton swabs are used the ear wax is just gets pushed down into the canal and into the boney portion of the canal. Once there, it can’t work itself out, causing an impaction (if you use a cotton swab and haven’t experienced this yet, it is only a matter of time before you do).
Those with hearing aids or who need to wear hearing protection often may produce more earwax than they used to. The ear canal may also produce more earwax because it detects a foreign body and wants to get rid of it. But we all know now that wearing hearing aids and hearing protection is extremely good for our overall health.
Your physician or their nurse practitioners can remove ear wax, but they don’t love doing this. Audiologists overall really like this procedure and we are really good at it.
At Oro Valley Audiology, we can remove ear wax by suction, tools, or our latest technology- the Earigator! This is a fancy irrigation machine that heats the water to body temperature, so the individual does not get dizzy with water that is too hot or too cold (this is a very real problem if you don’t know what you are doing).
We have started to call our fun little room the Ear Spa!
Cerumen removal is not covered by insurance through an audiologist at this time, but we charge in 15 minute intervals since we are so good at it. When making an appointment, we will ask some questions to see if you should use softening drops before the appointment. We have walk in hours 11:30 to 12:30 to LOOK in the ears to see if you have wax or not and if you should use drops before we set up an appointment for you.