Earwax, or cerumen, is a normal, naturally occurring substance that helps your ear stay healthy, it is believed to be one of the ways in which the ear canal is protected from infections and physicochemical aggressions.
Everyone produces earwax and it is generally not a problem: it is simply expelled from the ear in a natural process called the “migratory process”. Patients who produce a lot of earwax are more likely to have an earwax blockage and impaction.
When there is an interference with the migratory process, earwax begins to build up, if not treated, it may occlude the ear canal and the patient will need to have it removed.
Hearing aid users often visit healthcare professionals with complaints of constant irritations within the ear canal on account of either allergic contact dermatitis from the earmolds which connect the hearing aid to the ear canal or bacterial/fungal otitis externa or earwax impaction.
In many cases, hearing aids and earwax buildup are related as hearing aids may interfere with the normal earwax migratory process. Therefore, it is important for patients wearing hearing aids to have earwax buildup removed regularly. The frequency depends on each case as some patients overproduce earwax.
The excessive accumulation of dry skin in the ear canal may obstruct hearing aid receivers, causing hearing aids to whistle. Earwax and dry skin flakes mix together and make highly effective sound barriers in the ear canal, one of the primary causes of whistling hearing aids. To ensure hearing aid compliance ears should regularly be cleaned. Hearing aid manufacturers report a large number of repairs related to earwax. In fact, earwax is probably the largest reason for hearing aid repairs.
Main causes of whistling noises
If a hearing aid stops working, it is necessary to rule out any problems related to earwax (for example, when the hearing aid starts to whistle).
Improperly placed hearing aid
Incorrectly fitted earmold
Volume too high
Hearing aid users should have regular ear canal checks, every 3 to 6 months. Depending on their tendency to produce earwax it has been proposed to classify them into 5 groups:
- Little or no wax prod.
- Every 1 to 2 months
- Every 3 to 4 months
- Every 6 to 12 months
- Every 12 to 24 months
- As needed
General rule for the prevention of earwax buildup
The hearing aid should only be placed in the ear canal once the ear canal is completely dry. It is therefore recommended to apply the cerumenolytic when the user can wait several hours before placing the hearing aid back in the ear; for example, before bedtime.
It is not recommended to use oily products like olive oil, glycerol or solvent based products that can remain in the ear for several hours after application as they may increase the risk of damage to the hearing aid.
The recommended guidelines on how often patients with recurring earwax buildup should use evaQwax™ are:
If they need to have their ears cleaned out three times per year, use evaQwax™ three times per week.
If they need to have their ears cleaned out two times per year, use evaQwax™ two times per week, and so on…