A major component of good hearing aid maintenance is good ear hygiene. Hearing aids can begin to fit incorrectly, as a result of becoming dislodged, if the ear accumulates too much earwax. When buildup occurs, the sound produced by the hearing aid isn’t helpful; in fact, earwax buildup can cause issues such as intermittent noise or static.
Develop a cleaning routine
It is a common myth that using cotton swabs to remove excess earwax is a good idea. Nothing could be further from the truth. Using cotton swabs or other hard, stick-like objects are more likely to push wax deeper into the ear canal, impacting the earwax, which worsens any hearing issues. Inserting cotton swabs also puts you at risk of rupturing an eardrum.
Ears should be cleaned on a regular basis. Make sure to wipe the outside of your ears with a warm, damp cloth after a shower or both. A professional should clean your ears if you experience any painful or worrisome symptoms, including: an earache, fullness in the ear, partial hearing loss, tinnitus, itching, odor or discharge from the ear.
There are a number of home treatments, such as mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin or commercial drops. These are used by dripping the oil into the ear and allowing the drops to soften the wax before rinsing the drops and wax out with a bulb and warm water. While people have success using these methods, it’s a good idea to consult your hearing care provider before trying any treatments.
Other methods to avoid
Hearing healthcare professionals recommend against ear candling. Ear candling involves inserting a hollow candle made of beeswax and paraffin with cloth on a tapered end. With the candle inserted into the ear, another individual (ear candling requires assistance) lights the candle. The theory assumes that a vacuum is created as the flame burns, drawing the wax from the ear. Many studies report that clinical trials prove otherwise.
Getting professional help
If you notice an excessive amount of earwax or face recurring buildups, it’s a good idea to contact a hearing care specialist in your area. Earwax can cause temporary hearing loss, in addition to clogging the important components of a hearing aid, so it’s a good idea to have it removed safely by a hearing provider.