What is ear wax/cerumen and why do we have it?

Cerumen is also known as earwax. It is a protective matter produced by the body and it helps to protect the ears. It has lubricating and antibacterial properties. Ear wax helps to trap dirt and dust. It is also acidic and this helps to prevent infections. However, it can occasionally build up and cause pain, hearing loss, ear itch and hence ear wax removal is important.

What are the complications of ear wax?

Ear wax blockages are also a benign condition and generally does not cause any issues. However, sometimes it can cause hearing loss, pain, ear itch. Most ear blockages are caused by ear wax build-up. Ear wax production is perfectly normal, but an excess can potentially be uncomfortable and painful hence it is important for the removal of excessive ear wax.

Rarely, it can expand the ear canal causing keratosis obturans. There are conditions that predispose an individual to ear wax related issues such as, narrowed ear canal, over production of ear wax and wearing of devices that causes ear wax to be impacted.



   

How do I know if my child has ear wax impaction?

Older children may be able to tell you that they have having ear blockage, pain and ringing in their ears.

For younger children who may not be able to communicate their issues, they may start to stick their fingers in their ears or even try to put objects in their ears.

 

       

Tips and Prevention of Ear Wax / Cerumen Buildup

Avoiding ear instrumentation, such as the use of cotton bud and other ear cleaning devices may help prevent the build-up of earwax. When you use insert a cotton bud into your ears for removal of the ear wax, it only pushes the earwax deeper into the ear canal which may lead to impacted wax and disrupt the self-cleaning mechanism. The use of hearing aids and ear plugs can also contribute to earwax build-up as well. Some patients have ear canals shaped in a way that interferes with the normal migration of cerumen.

Removing the ear wax at home can safely be done using solutions like olive oil to soften the ear wax to migrate out of the ear canal. The outer ear can be cleaned with a clean cloth, without going to deep into the ear canal.

If you experience excessive ear wax it is best to have the ear wax removal done at the clinic by a professional with the special instruments that are required.

Treatments for Excessive Ear Wax Buildup

Ear Wax Removal by Microsuction

In Singapore, ear wax removal by micro-suction is a highly effective and patient-friendly method for removing ear wax. The procedure uses an ear microscope, allowing the doctor to see clearly and clean the ear canal precisely. It causes minimal discomfort to the patient. This technique enables the doctor to safely remove impacted earwax, foreign objects, and abnormal ear discharge when other methods haven’t worked. It’s a reliable and efficient way to keep ears clean and clear.

In general, microsuction is the preferred method for patients for ear wax removal:

  • Patients with an ear infection are strongly recommended to undergo microsuction.
  • Patients experiencing symptoms due to earwax buildup are also good candidates for microsuction.
  • Individuals with anatomical variations within the ear canal may benefit from microsuction.
  • Patients using hearing aids can opt for microsuction to keep their ears clean and maintain optimal hearing aid performance.
  • Additionally, microsuction can be suitable for ear infections in children who are and are capable of following and understanding simple instructions.

In these cases, microsuction offers a safe and effective solution for managing ear-related issues and ensuring better ear health.

Commonly asked questions for ear wax removal

How much does it cost to remove ear wax Singapore?

Cost of removal ranges from 180-200 without GST and excluding consultation
To know our rates, please refer to our homepage

Can GP remove ear wax Singapore?

A GP can prescribe topical medications to help soften ear wax or a simple ear irrigation for ear wax removal, but for more complicated conditions, we recommend visiting an ENT doctor for treatment.