The introduction of tiny cameras that enter the ear canal, called video otoscopes, have made it possible for clinicians to view the ear canal and eardrum in much greater detail than they could with a traditional otoscope. Video otoscopy provides significantly greater magnification to explore the ear, making ear wax removal much safer.
Once the clinician has established the nature of the density and viscosity of the wax build up, they are able to determine the best approach for its safe removal.
- Q-tip method
- Curette method
- Forceps method
- Vacuum/suction method
- Lavage/irrigation/flush method
Signs and Symptoms of Earwax Buildup
The appearance of earwax varies from light yellow to dark brown. Darker colours do not necessarily indicate that there is a blockage.
Signs of earwax buildup include:
- sudden or partial hearing loss, which is usually temporary
- tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing in the ear
- a feeling of fullness in the ear
Unremoved earwax buildup can lead to infection. Contact your doctor if you experience the symptoms of infection, such as:
- severe pain in your ear
- pain in your ear that does not subside
- drainage from your ear
- persistent hearing loss
- an odour coming from your ear
It’s important to note that hearing loss, dizziness, and earaches also have many other causes. You should see your doctor if any of these symptoms are frequent. A full medical evaluation can help determine whether the problem is due to excess earwax or another health issue entirely.