When was the last time someone took a good look into your ears?
If the ears are not clear and the eardrum can not be visualized, your ability to hear may be impacted. Ear wax is the most common culprit. The ear canal can be filled with wax, dry skin, or oil and debris. In any combination, all of this can impede your hearing. When abnormalities are detected during an ear examination, we will usher you off to a physician who specializes in ear disease.
We work with a variety of illumination devices which can include an ENT microscope, headlamp, video otoscope or hand held otoscope. We can show you exactly what we see before making a plan for the next steps. Knowing your medical history is important as some medications and medical conditions can make the skin more sensitive.
Cleaning the ear can be accomplished safely in many ways. The method used for ear cleaning is related to the consistency or type of blockage. Impacted or hard wax may require softening before there is any attempt to remove it. The tissue that lines the ear canal is extremely thin and we take gentle care to avoid irritation. Once the wax is softened and pliable, it can be irrigated with water or removed with suction or tools.
Microsuction is one method used to extract loosened or small bits of debris. The tiny vacuum sounds loud but it works efficiently and quickly. There are also a variety of tools used for removal including small forceps and looped curettes. In some cases, a cotton swab is the right choice. Blindly using a cotton swab at home is never advised. If you get a bit of wax out, you can't see how much got pushed in deeper.
If you feel as though you aren't hearing your best, get your ears checked. It may be a simple as clearing out ear wax. An Audiologist will be happy to check your ears and help to keep them working at their best.