You would have a very difficult time remaining healthy if your body did not use various means to trap and remove toxins. The removal of toxins from your ears is the reason for earwax, which provides a great natural benefit. Earwax becomes a problem for those who wear hearing aids because it can cause damage. For both to provide benefits requires a delicate balance between allowing earwax to do its job and hearing aids to do theirs.

What Does Earwax Do?

Earwax, or cerumen, is an oily wax-like substance produced by the glands in the ear canal. It prevents infections from reaching the eardrum and middle ear by trapping germs and contamination. Those trapped contaminants slowly work their way to the opening of your ear canal as you chew or talk. However, sometimes it gets stuck, and the earwax builds up, blocking the ear canal, which muffles sound or blocks it entirely. Besides contributing to obstructive hearing loss, this earwax buildup also causes problems with hearing aids.

Should You Remove the Wax From Your Ears?

When earwax builds up in your ears, you probably reach for tweezers, a q-tip, or some other long, thin object to reach into your ear and draw it out. This is dangerous because if you work too aggressively or slip, you risk damaging your ears and causing irreparable hearing loss. Though ear drops present fewer risks, they may or may not be effective, and they can lead to creating irritation or infection by altering the natural wax production process. For the sake of safety, if you tend to have frequent wax buildup, seek an audiologist or ENT doctor to provide proper earwax removal rather than doing it yourself.

Earwax Causes Damage to Hearing Aids

Earwax buildup can cause significant problems for hearing aid users because wearing them tends to stimulate cerumen production while at the same time, they block the natural migration of earwax out of the ear canal. Besides the potential for infection and irritation, earwax buildup blocks the amplified sound from the instrument, muffling the sound and often creating feedback or a high-pitched whistling sound.

In addition to causing performance issues, earwax buildup also finds its way inside the vent and receiver holes in your hearing aids and can degrade delicate internal parts due to its chemical composition. The damage to these components makes up between 60% and 70% of all damaged hearing aids sent in for repair.

Controlling Earwax Helps Hearing Aids Perform Better and Last Longer

If you have a regular buildup of earwax, seeking a professional for earwax removal helps reduce the amount of earwax available to cause potential damage. However, to win the battle against earwax buildup in your hearing aids, consistent hearing aid maintenance habits need to be established.

Daily hearing aid cleaning is an essential part of ensuring proper hearing aid function and unit longevity. Cleaning involves removing debris and earwax from the unit using a soft brush or cloth as well as dislodging contamination stuck in receive and microphone holes with a wax pick. Changing the wax-guards or wax filters on your hearing aids according to manufacturer instructions, is also a critical maintenance task able to prevent component damage.

Gold Country Hearing Helps You Control Earwax Buildup

Hearing aid cleaning is a critical element in maintaining hearing aid performance and longevity. Consequently, Gold Country Hearing puts a lot of effort into educating our Sacramento area patients on proper cleaning procedures as well as changing wax-guards as well as providing cleaning and maintenance services.

Our audiologists are also available to provide safe earwax removal from our patients’ ears as a part of our commitment to your hearing care. Contact us for additional information about earwax buildup issues or to schedule a tech support or cleaning appointment.

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Dr Kimberly Bonney

Dr. Kimberly Bonney graduated with her Master’s Degree in 2001 from CSU Sacramento and worked at a non-profit hearing center in Sacramento. She then began working as an educational audiologist in Placer and Nevada County schools where she found working with children who were deaf and hard of hearing to be very rewarding.