Immediate Relief from Ear Pain
Ear pain can be solved quickly at your doctor’s office under 10 minutes.
Ear wax (also known as cerumen) performs an important job protecting the ear canal and ear drum from dryness and debris while regulating the temperature. Ear wax protects the skin of the ear from infection and water. Unfortunately, sometimes the body produces too much ear wax, or the wax becomes dry. This phenomenon can cause ear pain, ringing in the ears, ear blockage, and sometimes even temporary hearing loss. If left untreated, the condition can wear away at the fragile structure of the inner ear, harming the ear canal and ear drum.
An ear lavage is a simple remedy that can be performed by a doctor. It is used to clean out the ears, providing immediate pain relief. An ear lavage can also be used to remove objects that have been trapped in the ears.
In some cases, an ear lavage is the wrong answer. If the pain is actually coming from an ear infection or damaged ear drum, a lavage can be very damaging. If you have ear implants or an auto-immune disease, an ear lavage may have other complications. It is best to visit a doctor prior to attempting an ear lavage at home.
Symptoms Improved by Ear Lavage:
Ringing in ears
Temporary hearing loss
As you age, eardrums get thicker affecting bones in the middle ear and auditory nerve. This results in a decline in hearing sharpness. An accumulation of ear wax is also a cause of trouble hearing.
The First Visit
Firstly, excessive earwax can be identified during a routine doctor visit. This is often what happens when people do not realize they are living with excessive wax. The doctor will examine your ear using an otoscope: a magnifying glass with a built-in flashlight. After you have visited a doctor and confirmed that the problem is either excess earwax, dry ear wax, or an object trapped inside the ear, the procedure can be done at your doctor’s office. It is recommended to have a medical professional remove any large objects, as the procedure could damage the inner ear. Sometimes, an ear lavage must be done multiple times a day.
At the Doctor
You will be asked to either lie down or sit with your head angled to the side. The doctor will use an applicator, which looks like a cross between an eyedropper and a syringe, to flush out your ear with either warm water or a saline solution. You will be provided with a bowl to catch the water and ear wax. The procedure is not especially comfortable, but will be done within 10-15 minutes.
Like most good things, ear lavages can be overused. Even if excess ear wax is a reoccurring problem, it is recommended to restrict the procedure to 2-3 times a day for up to 4 days. This will minimize irritation to the ears, and provide time for recovery.
When a lavage is not effective: prescription ear drops (trolamine, polypeptide oleate, cerumenex) or for dry ear wax: ear pick (don’t push too far into ear). We recommend avoiding the use of cotton swabs as the tendency is to push the swab too far into the ear resulting in pushing more wax into the canal.
Each of the 10 Senior Medical Associates locations has skilled staff to perform the simple Ear Lavage procedure. Call (954) 659-9690 to schedule an appointment with a provider today!