Blocked Ears – Causes and Solutions
A blocked ear (or blocked ears) can be a minor annoyance or a serious risk to your health. Blocked ears could be the result of a buildup of earwax leading to minor discomfort and slightly muffled hearing. Or it could be due to a serious infection causing ear pain and headaches, dizziness and the risk of permanent hearing damage.
Blocked ears present a range of symptoms including:
- Partial hearing loss
- Ear feels clogged or muffled
- Ringing sounds
- Ear pain and headaches
- Ear infections
- Pus or discharge from the ears
- Dizziness and loss of equilibrium
There are several common causes of blocked ears. One of the most common is build up of earwax. However, blocked ears are not always the result of a physical blockage.
Earwax is a naturally occurring substance secreted by glands in the outer ear. Its purpose is to protect the delicate inner ear structures from water and debris. While earwax is useful, too much can start to cause problems. Excessive earwax can lead to earaches, infections, partial hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness. In some cases, earwax can build up and start to harden in a process known as impaction.
How to open a blocked ear
Firstly, it’s important to remember to never attempt to remove blockages by sticking objects in your ears. This runs the risk of further compacting the earwax or damaging sensitive parts of the ear.
When it comes to how to open a blocked ear, there are a number of simple home and over-the-counter remedies available.
At Hearing Professionals, we offer wax removal by the curette method or by using micro-suction. These are dry methods have the advantage of not exposing the ear to moisture, which minimises the risk of infection.
This is a dry method which uses a wax loop (or jobson horn) to remove pieces of wax. The wax loop is circular and has no sharp edges for the safe removal of wax. This is done using a specialized bright headlamp (Lumiview or Vorotek) which gives the clinician bright clear vision deep into the ear canal.
Micro-suction earwax removal is a modern earwax removal treatment. At selected clinics, we use ENT surgical grade microscopes, which can look deep into the ear canal with high magnification. This combined with a specialized medical grade micro-suction machine, allows for the safe and painless removal of deep and/or stubborn earwax. If possible, the ear wax should be softened with a proprietary ear wax softening spray, available from our clinics or your chemist, at least 2-3 days prior to your appointment.
We offer microsuction for over 12 years old and above, in our Melbourne, Brighton, Bundoora, Ballarat, Burwood, Boronia, Geelong, Ivanhoe, Sunshine and Wodonga clinics.