If there is any one thing that will cause frustration for hearing aid wearers, that is EAR WAX! Ear wax plugs tubes, domes, wax guards, and ears. We often see that ear wax has fully blocked a customer’s ear canal, which has blocked any amplified sound from reaching the eardrum. If you wonder why your hearing aids aren’t performing well or you’re not hearing well, you should FIRST have your ears checked and cleared of any wax buildup. Even small amounts of ear wax along the canal walls can be scooped up by the dome of your hearing aids when you insert them, creating a temporary plug. If you keep your ears clean, your hearing aids will perform really well and you will have less need for repairs and service to your hearing aids. Below are some suggestions on how our most successful hearing aids customers have kept their ears clean.
Understanding the Anatomy
Wax is produced by the cerumen glands in the outer portion of the ear canal. If maintained properly, wax should not be found deep in the canal, near the eardrum (tympanic membrane).
Tip #1: If you already use Q-Tips or similar cotton swabs (which most people do), then be sure to hold the Q-Tip firmly no more than 1 inch away from the cotton tip that you are inserting into your ear.
This will ensure that you never make accidental contact with your ear drum, which can cause injury. The wax glands that produce the ear wax are near the outer edge of the canal (not deep in the canal as most people think), so this depth should be sufficient and safe. Use a rotating motion, swabbing all sides of the canal. DO NOT use a plungering motion, which pushes and compacts the wax deeper into your canal. (FYI: the cleanest ears we see use Q-Tips daily, but only when done safely & properly.)
Tip #2: (NOT TO BE USED IF YOU KNOW OR SUSPECT YOU HAVE A PERFORATED OR DAMAGED EARDRUM.)
If you own a hand-held shower head with a rotating spray pattern dial, set the dial to the most direct/condensed spray pattern. While taking a warm shower, remove the handheld portion of your shower head and irrigate each ear for 1-2 minutes, 2-3 days per week. The warm water will liquefy the wax and expel any other unwanted debris from your ears, without causing damage to your ear canal or ear drum. Handheld shower heads are available at most retail or home improvement stores.
Tip #3: (NOT TO BE USED IF YOU KNOW OR SUSPECT YOU HAVE A PERFORATED OR DAMAGED EARDRUM.)
Use hydrogen peroxide or pure virgin olive oil to first loosen large amounts of old wax from your ear canals. Allow the liquid to stand in your ear for 5-10 minutes with your head tipped and resting on the opposite ear, and then flush with warm water from a bulb syringe or using the method shown in Tip #2 above.
NOTE: These tips are not intended to replace professional medical advice. Consult with your personal physician prior to using any of these methods.