By Crystal Clear Ears

Immersing ourselves into the music of our favourite band and feeling the sensation of loud music tremble through our body is all part of the concert experience. In decades past, one of the expected outcomes of a concert was ringing in the ears and a muffled sensation. In recent years, large investments have been made to reduce these outcomes as there are proven links with loud noise exposure and hearing loss. Hearing protection in the form of specialised earplugs for musicians and music lovers is a booming industry and proves to prevent hearing loss. Unfortunately however, the side effect of earplugs can be the same as attending the concert… ringing in the ears and a muffled sensation. From what you ask? Earwax.

Earplugs can interrupt the natural migration process of earwax, cause symptoms of hearing loss and expose a simple solution. Cerumen, or ‘ear wax’ is a natural substance of the ear that waterproofs and lubricates the ear canal. It is located in the outer third of the canal and sits attached to the layer of skin that surrounds the bony cavity. Earwax is constantly produced by cerumen glands and excreted from the ear by its self-cleaning process. The skin migrates laterally down the ear canal from the tympanic membrane in a conveyer-like motion. The migration of skin constantly sweeps the canal clean.

If an earplug is regularly placed in the ear canal for protection, the natural cleaning process is interrupted and over time an accumulation of wax can occur. Instead of the sweeping motion pushing the wax out of the ear canal, it builds up like a sand pit, or what we call ‘wax impaction’. Wax impaction is an accumulation of cerumen that is symptomatic or prevents clinical assessment of the ear.

For the musician or music lover, this can mean:

  • Blockage causing a muffled sound
  • Hearing loss
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Itching
  • Tinnitus
  • Vertigo
  • Infection

The most effective treatment available for this condition is manual removal.

The manual removal method is safer, more effective, more comfortable and less intrusive than other available options. It is performed under direct visualisation, doesn’t involve the use of liquids therefore has few contraindications and has a lower risk of infection then syringing.

A composer who regularly utilises Clear Ears services for manual earwax removal notes, ‘My ears are my assets, so the gold standard technique of manual removal is the only way I will have my ears cleaned.’

Not everyone who wears earplugs will experience the side effects of wax impaction. The key message is to encourage musicians and music lovers to wear earplugs when playing or listening to music but if symptoms do appear, visit your local audiologist or manual ear clean remover to have the earwax manually removed. It is safe, effective and instantly improves symptoms.

For more information on how to keep your ears healthily waxy, visit Crystal Clear Ears.