Cerumen Management

Everything You Need to Know About Earwax Removal: A Comprehensive Guide

earwax removal for irritated ears
Why does it happen

What causes excessive earwax?

Some of the common causes of earwax build up are narrow ear canals, bent ear canals, cotton swabs, hearing aids and ear plugs. The symptoms can consist of plugged ears, ringing in the ears (Tinnitus), decreased hearing and plugged hearing aids. When the symptoms are severe enough, a professional may need to assist you with earwax removal to prevent damaging your eardrums.

Narrow or Bent Ear Canals

Ear canal stenosis is the medical term for narrow ear canals, and those that have it are usually born with this condition. Others might have a very strong bend in their canals. Both conditions make it harder for dirt and debris to exit their ears.

Cotton Swabs

Some people have a very strong bend in their ear canals, making it harder for dirt and debris to exit their ears via earwax. Professional earwax removal may be necessary.

Ear plugs, Hearing Aids, & Headphones

When worn extensively over time, ear plugs, hearing aids, or in-the-ear-headphones prevent ear wax from exiting the ear, or can push earwax back into the ear.

Do you need earwax removal?

Symptoms of Excessive Earwax

When earwax builds up and gets stuck in your ear canals it is called impacted earwax. You might not know this is happening until you experience some symptoms. Often, people exhibit only one or two symptoms, and the symptoms happen slowly over time, so it can take a while to notice.

Ear ache

Plugged ear canals can cause discomfort or pain for some people


When your ears are blocked, it can mess with our sensation of balance, causing the feeling of dizziness

Hearing loss

It becomes harder for sound waves to reach your ear drums when your ears are blocked

Ringing in the ears

Some people with excess ear wax report being more aware of the ringing in sensation in their ears from tinnitus

Ear fullness

Excess earwax can contribute to the sensation of plugged ears or a fullness to the ears

Itching in the ear

Rather than pain, some people report itchy ears from the buildup of wax in their ear canals


The oto-respiratory reflex causes caughing in some people with impacted ears

Discharge or odour

If an infection is present from excessive ear wax, it can produce an odour or discharge from the ears

What not to do for earwax removal

Can I use Q-tips to clear excessive earwax?

In a word, NO.

Cotton swabs are great to apply makeup or clean the outside of your ears. We have all heard the adage “Place nothing smaller than your elbow in your ears.” This holds true.

Many people use cotton swabs to “clean” their ears. Unfortunately, most people end up pushing the ear wax further up into the ear. Then the ear produces more wax as a result, causing plugged ears and additional discomfort. ​

NO   Q-tips
NO   rubber tipped pencils
NO   cotton swabs

This is where I come in. I am fully certified in earwax removal. I use microsuction, the safest way to remove earwax, in the convenience of your home.

The safest treatment

What is microsuction?

A registered hearing instrument practitioner can remove earwax using a microscope and a low pressure suction tube to remove earwax. The RHIP will use the microscope to see where in the canal the blockage occurred, and suction it out. The suction is gentle, so it won’t cause discomfort.

Microsuction is:

  • Gentle on the ears
  • Painless, no discomfort
  • Good for hard or soft earwax
  • Safe for everyone, including those with perforated eardrums
Microsuction risks

Are there any risks?

Minor damage to the ear canal or drum can only occur if the patient moves unexpectedly. Since we perform microsuction on you at your home, you can control your home environment to minimize the chance of unexpected movements.

Other treatments

Are there any alternative treatments?

We don’t recommend any other alternative procedures because they all come with greater risks of damage. The syringing technique, for example, may lead to a greater risk of ear canal infection due to moisture buildup in the ear. The high volume of water in the syringing technique can also cause vertigo, tinnitus, or perforate an eardrum.

Microsuction is the gold standard for earwax removal

Vancouver Island's Only Mobile Earwax Removal Clinic

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