Earwax Specialist in Federal Way or Auburn, WA
Earwax, also called cerumen, is a natural protectant that helps to keep the ear free of dust and other bothersome particles. Everyone has dealt with earwax before, but for some it can be particularly challenging to maintain the build-up of this waxy substance inside their ear canal.
Normally, any excess earwax will migrate outward from the inner ear to the ear canal, where it can be swept away. If the extra earwax is not able to exit the ear, it is likely to harden and begin to block the ear way. These types of blockages can lead to a variety of issues, such as partial hearing loss or even infection.
What Are the Symptoms of an Earwax Blockage?
The signs of excess earwax are often very mild, such as:
- Difficulty in hearing as well as you used to
- A plugged or full sensation in the ear
- Tinnitus (ringing or other noises from within the ear)
Earwax buildup is typically not a cause for great concern so long as it is addressed early on. If these symptoms are ignored, there is potential for them to worsen to the point of a severe infection. You should contact Dr. Stern immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Drainage or discharge from the ear
- Severe, persistent pain in the ear
- Sudden bouts of dizziness
- Worsening hearing loss
- A foul-smelling odor coming from the ear
How Does Dr. Stern Treat Earwax Buildup?
It is entirely possible for individuals to manage excess earwax on their own by following some of these basic instructions when they begin to notice symptoms of earwax buildup:
- Soften the earwax using over-the-counter ear drops
- Irrigate the ear using a specialized kit
- Regularly practice good hygiene skills to prevent earwax from building up
It is imperative that you DO NOT try to insert anything in your ear in order to pull out the extra earwax. This is exactly the reason why so many patients experience issues with earwax in the first place. Inserting any sort of foreign object into the ear should never be done unless by an ENT specialist.
Better Safe Than Sorry
If you have never dealt with a buildup of earwax before, you should see a specialist before trying any home treatments. Attempting a treatment without first being able to accurately diagnose the problem can result in all sorts of complications, which is why it is simply better for you and your health if you get a professional opinion first.
On occasion, the excess earwax may be so severe that over-the-counter medications will be useless in trying to alleviate the person’s symptoms. If this is the case, Dr. Stern will need to manually remove the earwax using specialized tools and machinery.