Ear Irrigation – Is It Effective and Safe?

Conductive hearing loss is a type of hearing loss caused by a blockage found between the inner ear and the ear canal. This blockage effectively prevents the transmission of sound waves, causing reduced hearing or hearing loss.

The most common causes of conductive hearing loss are ear infections and a buildup of earwax. Bone growths, especially if they’re located in the middle ear, also cause conductive hearing loss. If these are left untreated, chronic sound deprivation caused by chronic conductive hearing loss will affect the synaptic connections between the auditory sensory cells and the brain. This will ultimately result in cochlear degeneration, permanent inner ear damage, and permanent hearing loss.

 

What is Ear Irrigation?

Ear irrigation “unclogs” a blocked ear caused by earwax buildup and other foreign materials. The doctor will first inspect your ear by inserting an otoscope to look into your ear. If your ear does have a blockage, he will then use a syringe-like tool called an aural syringe. This syringe has a piston that pushes water-and-saline mixture out of its nozzle. The force of the water will then flush out the impacted earwax.

Is It Safe?

While this procedure is effective in dislodging the earwax buildup, it does have risks:

  • This procedure isn’t applicable to people who have damaged eardrum, those with an active ear infection, or those with a weak immune system. The water’s force could further damage the eardrum, resulting in ear pain, inflammation, and infection.
  • Instead of flushing out the earwax, the water’s force could push the earwax deeper into the ear and cause it to be even more impacted. Not only will it be harder to remove the earwax buildup, but it also increases the risk for eardrum perforation.
  • Some people experience side effects after an ear irrigation. Symptoms include dizziness, tinnitus, and ear pain, although these typically go away in time.

If you want to try this procedure to remove earwax buildup, seek professional help.