Cerumen, commonly known as ear wax, occurs naturally in everyone's ears, usually without problems. However, if wax becomes impacted or creates a blockage in the ear, you may require a professional to assist with ear wax removal.
If you feel your ears have become blocked, debris such as cerumen and dead skin cells are usually the cause. For some people, this happens due to an overproduction of natural oils in the ear canal. Most often, however, the situation happens when people put objects in their ears, (such as cotton swabs/Q-tips, earbuds, earplugs, keys, etc.) When you put objects in your ears, you force the wax deep into the canal, impacting it against the eardrum. This not only interferes with hearing, but can become very painful.
Over time, the ear wax accumulates and starts to form into a lump and eventually becomes a full blockage. Sufferers of wax blockage often report feeling dizzy, hearing a ringing in their ears, having pain in the ear, or hearing a scratchy sound.
If you are concerned that your ears are blocked with wax, your first course of action is to see your family doctor or go to a walk-in clinic to confirm that you do, indeed, have a blockage. A doctor is able to bill OHIP, rather than charging you directly for the service. If you have wax that is impacted, beyond your family doctor's ability to resolve, they may refer you to an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor / ENT). The services of an ENT are also covered by OHIP.
While you are waiting to see an ENT, your family doctor may suggest that you see a pharmacist to obtain wax-softening oil or their advice about what to use to soften your ear wax. Using oil at night and then running the shower directly into your ear the next morning, for several days in a row, often helps to dislodge and wash out ear wax. The use of oil or water in your ears is only safe if you no issues with your ears such as mastoid cavities, prior surgery, perforations, etc. Again, it is strongly recommended that you first see your family doctor.
If you are unsuccessful in having your family doctor remove ear wax, are too uncomfortable to await an appointment with an ENT, and have no success with the pharmacist's recommendation, one of our Hearing Instrument Specialists is able to perform ear wax removal. However, please be aware that a charge of $35.00 per ear applies ($70.00 for two ears) per attempt (whether successful or not). The service is not offered on an emergency basis. We are usually booking seven to ten days in advance.
Should you choose to book an appointment, we strongly recommend that you first visit your family doctor or a walk-in clinic to have your ears checked to ensure that…
- You do, in fact, have wax in your ears. If you have not yet seen your family doctor to confirm that your ears have wax in them and, upon visiting our office, your ears do not have wax to be removed, you will be charged an office visit fee of $25.00.
- You do not have an ear infection. Ear infection must be treated with antibiotics, which we do not prescribe.
- Your ears are not blocked with a piece of a cotton swab or other foreign object, which will require a visit to an Otolaryngologist.
- You do not have perforations in your ear drum, which will render the use of oil or water dangerous.
We also recommend that, before your appointment, you first see a pharmacist to obtain wax softening oil, or their advice about what to use to soften your ear wax, It is recommended that you put oil in your ears for at least three nights prior to attending your appointment. Once again, putting oil in your ears, or our use of water to remove your ear wax, is only safe if you have no issues with your ears such as mastoid cavities, prior surgery, perforations, etc.
Although it is tempting to rush and have wax removed without first softening it, attempts to remove wax when it is impacted and hard may cause tearing of skin, bleeding, and significant discomfort or in the worst case scenario, a perforation of the eardrum. Our mission is to make the experience of ear wax removal the most effective and comfortable possible.
You will be required to sign a waiver, before the procedure, acknowledging the risks inherent in ear wax removal.
If we are unable to successfully remove all your ear wax in one visit, there will be a charge for each subsequent visit until the wax has been satisfactorily removed. We can only work on your ears until they show signs of irritation and then must stop and permit them to recover before another attempt is made. An appointment is usually no longer than 30 minutes in duration.
Methods used to remove wax may include the use of…
- Curette (a long handled scoop)
- Irrigation pump (water)
- Suction (Coxwell location only)
After successful ear wax removal, people report heightened hearing sensitivity in the ear that has been treated, and a great sense of relief.
If you would like to have one of our Hearing Instrument Specialists attempt to remove wax from your ears, please contact us to book an appointment.