Many new patients make an appointment because their ears feel blocked with ear wax. One of the initial steps during an appointment for a new patient is to use one of our videotoscopes and determine if there is enough wax, skin or other debris in the ears to necessitate cleaning them.
Whenever we clean an ear, our approach is very gentle and slow. We do not rush any ear cleaning. Rather, we ensure our patient is relaxed and calm throughout the ear cleaning process. Sometimes, cleaning a heavily impacted ear can take multiple appointments.
When we clean an ear that has a build-up of wax, skin, or other debris in it, we first use handheld ear lights with small nylon tips on them to loosen and remove as much material as possible. In most cases, using the handheld ear light removes all of the material.
If there is some material that is too deep in the ear canal to remove using a handheld ear light, we might use a warm water lavage. The warm water lavage is conducted using a pressure-adjustable waterpik with warm water and hydrogen peroxide. When mixed, these two liquids provide a warm, cleansing solution to wash deep material out of an ear.
When an ear is excessively blocked with dry, hard material, the patient might take some ear drops home to use for a number of days before returning to have their ears cleaned.
NOTE: We never use vacuums or stainless steel picks to clean ears.