''The physiologic factors that control the sebaceous glands
in the ear canal are not fully known. However, the function of the modified
apocrine (ceruminous) sweat glands has been well established. Perry (1957)
studied cerumen production by direct visualization of the skin of the distal
portion of the external auditory canal of 150 subjects. He found that smooth
muscle stimulants (pitocin), adrenergic drugs (epinephrine and
norepinephrine), and the emotional states of anxiety, fear, and pain
resulted in an increased production of apocrine sweat. In addition, rubbing
or cleaning the canal wall resulted in a mechanical ''milking'' of the
cerumenous glands. In some cases, vigorous chewing caused distortions of the
ear canal that caused the same milking effect.''
- Journal of the American
Academy of Audiology Volume 8, Number 6, December 199,
We polled a group of parents of deaf/hoh children to see how
they dealt with Cerumen in their children's ears. Here are some of their
Uggghhhh...one of our biggest problems with both "hearing
aid boys" (as
my 7 year old refers to himself and his youngest brother). We've been
given two ways to remove wax from our pediatrician.
1. Use Colaice (an over-the-counter stool softener) in the ear for a few
minutes several nights in a row to soften the wax and then use a Q-tip
to gently remove the wax.
2. Use Debrox drops in the ear. The drops will bubble up and
aggressively remove the wax.
We find the Debrox treatment much more effective, but I've tried it on
myself, and it burns terribly, especially if there are any tiny
abrasions in the ear canal.
We've also had the ENT use the long scraping tool to remove wax,
especially if they find wax when doing the exam just before a hearing
test. Unfortunately, even a really experienced ENT has managed to nick
the canal in both of our son's ears, and THAT'S painful.
Not to be too gross, we were blown away to see what impacted wax
actually looks like. When we saw it, we realized how much it would
reduce available hearing.
When our son was just 11 months old he had the ear wax
removed by an ENT
consultant under general anaesthesia. Three different people (our GP, an
audiologist and an ENT) said that's the only way to do it in such small
children. Luckily, he hasn't had the need for it again. I can't tell you
my disbelief at the time that such a simple procedure should require day
surgery. I hope it's easier in older kids.
We just dealt with this for the first time a few months ago.
with audiologist, who strongly recommended we have pediatrician clean
out our son's ears (he was 4 1/2 at the time). Doc had nurse do it,
of course (LOL). All she did was take a syringe, fill it with
lukewarm water, and squirt it into his ears. She then had him tilt
his head so that the water would come out on its own. She'd then wipe
the ear with a clean washcloth. It took quite a while to do each ear,
but stuff just came out eventually. Yuck. Let's just say she was very
patient and there were M&M's involved.
But since, they've had us squirt water in his ears in the same way
during bath time. The wax has been under control since. It's not
always an easy proposition, either. But since we do it periodically,
I don't worry about doing both ears at one time, or even every day.
That way, neither one of us gets too frustrated.
We also use Q-Tips to clean the outside of the ear, when we see wax
coming out, but never actually in the ear canal.
Audiology Online answers the question, "Is there any
evidence that cerumen production is increased when using earmolds? Or, is it
that earmolds block the ear from natural drainage so it just appears that
there is more cerumen? Also, is there any difference between soft and hard
shell earmolds regarding cerumen production?"
Understanding Ear Wax
The Ear Wax FAQ
Wax Problems in a
Hearing Aid User
- The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to
take the place of professional medical care. Please consult your health care provider.
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