When to See an Audiologist for Ear Cleaning
Good health starts with good hygiene. For most of us, this means cleaning out every nook and cranny with hot water and soap… But while many of us may reach for a cotton swab as part of our daily personal hygiene regimen, many audiologists would not advise this. Earwax is part of your body’s defense against infections.
Our earwax is a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent which can be instrumental in keeping infections at bay. Moreover, when we clean our ears with a cotton swab we can get a little carried away, digging deep into our ears where we risk either pushing wax deeper into the ear or damaging the delicate internal workings of our ears.
If you’re worried at all about the cleanliness of your ears you should see your audiologist for professional ear cleaning if you exhibit the following symptoms.
Six months have elapsed since your ears were last cleaned
If you’ve experienced frequent blockages in the past, consider visiting your audiologist biannually. This can help you to guard against excessive wax buildup which can lead to ear pain, temporary hearing loss or even increased risk of infection. While your earwax is designed to protect your ears, they can have too much of a good thing!
Your hearing starts to feel muffled or muted
Hearing loss has many causes. It can be hereditary or it can be brought on and exacerbated by lifestyle factors (like listening to loud music regularly or working with noisy machinery). In most cases, however, we tend not to notice our hearing loss until it has become quite pronounced. It creeps up on us incrementally over years or even decades. As such, if you have started to notice a change in your hearing, it may be caused by excessive wax buildup. Over time wax can harden and form a blockage in the ears which can lead to temporary hearing loss.
Fortunately, an audiologist can help to fix this for you with a professional ear clean.
You start to get persistent tinnitus
Tinnitus is that annoying ringing that we tend to get in our ears after we’ve been exposed to loud noise. Many of us experience it when walking out of a noisy bar or nightclub or a loud live music gig. For most of us, this goes away after a little while and our hearing reverts back to normal.
If you have persistent tinnitus, however, this can impact negatively on your quality of life. It can make conversation with friends and family problematic and even keep you from sleeping at night. Earwax buildup is one of many causes of tinnitus and a thorough ear cleaning should be your first line of defense against it.
If your audiologist is unable to make your tinnitus go away by cleaning your ears, they will be able to carry out further tests to get to the cause of it and establish proper treatment.
You’re losing your balance
Finally, a loss of balance can also be a sign of waxy buildup which may have caused an infection of the inner ear which affects your balance. Again, if cleaning does not resolve this straight away, your highly-trained audiologist is ideally placed to get to the root cause and help to put a treatment plan in place.
Make sure that you incorporate professional ear cleaning into your self-care regimen!