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Earwax Buildup with Hearing Aids

doctor is checking an ear for wax

Have you noticed that there is a buildup of earwax around your ears? This can be quite irritating and potentially even alarming. One of the first things you should be aware of is that earwax is totally normal. So, unless you are noticing blood mixed in, there is nothing to worry about here. It’s also true to say that some people have higher levels of earwax than others. Contrary to belief, this has nothing to do with how well you are cleaning your ears. However, using hearing aids can certainly lead to a higher level of earwax around your outer ear. Let’s explore why this is, the problems it can cause and what you can do about it. 

Are ears self-cleaning?

You need to brush your teeth twice a day to keep them clean and healthy. Crucially, this also ensures that you keep your gums clean too and helps ensure that you avoid issues like gum disease. It’s worth noting that your ears are different. They are what’s known as self-cleaning. This means that usually, you won’t have to take any action to clean your ears. There are exceptions to this which we’ll discuss. However, that means that earwax is pushed to the surface and out the hole which is how it ends up in the outer ear. The problem is that when you wear hearing aids, you are blocking the hole. This can lead to trouble with the wax building up in both the ear canal, on the hearing aids and around the outer ear. Typically, wax will simply fall away and that’s not always possible with hearing aids.

What does impacted earwax mean?

Since the hole is blocked, earwax can get trapped in the ear canal. This can cause it to become impacted. Impacted earwax hardens and essentially forms a blockage in your ear. It can cause irritation and even some minor pain. However, the main symptom of impacted earwax is going to be changes to your hearing. Specifically, you’ll probably notice that your hearing sounds echoed. You might even find that there is an issue with tinnitus, causing you to hear noises that aren’t there. A problem like this can be quite disconcerting. It won’t always happen when you are using hearing aids, but it can be an issue. 

How to clean your hearing aids

The first step is to make sure you are cleaning your hearing aids. After all, with a buildup of earwax, they won’t be providing the right level of support that you want. To do this, you should speak to your hearing instrument specialist. They will be able to tell you how to clean your hearing aids the right way. Generally, the best option is going to be a damp soft cloth and damp soft brush. Remember to dry the hearing aids carefully afterwards. You might find that there is a buildup of wax in the tube connecting the two parts of the device. If that’s the case, you should make sure that you are taking the right steps. Dismantle the hearing aid and soak the tube in water. Make sure that it is completely dry before you reattach it. It’s important to take care when cleaning these devices to avoid causing damage.

How to clean your ears

As mentioned, you won’t usually have to clean your ears. However, if you notice there is a buildup of wax around the outer ear, then you can clean it with a damp cloth. This will help you clean out any excess wax that might have become trapped in the crevices of your ears. You may also find that there is some around the back of your ear too. 

As for the inside of your ear, you should never clean this yourself, especially with something like a cotton swab or bobby pin. When you insert something into your ear canal, you’re more likely to perforate your ear drum, irritate your canal or impact wax even more. Cotton swabs can be used to remove earwax from the outer ear, but that is all that is recommended.

We hope this helps you understand the reason for earwax buildup with hearing aids and the potential steps you can take. To learn more about My Hearing Center and how we can help you take care of your hearing aids, contact one of our convenient locations today: Palm Springs at 561-612-0138, Boynton Beach at 561-623-9060, West Palm Beach at 561-612-0231, Jensen Beach at 772-408-9559 or Jupiter at 561-935-6592.