Wax is a natural lubricant for the ear canal; it has a natural antibacterial quality that is good for the ear. Left alone it will typically work itself out. However, wearing a hearing aid (like using a Q-Tip) can sometimes pack the wax back down into the ear canal.
The majority of ear wax is dead skin, so if you have a significant wax issue it is likely a skin issue more than anything else. For some people, wearing hearing aids can actually help with wax issues, but for others it can make the problem worse.
An indicator that you may have a wax problem is when you start getting feedback from your hearing aid. The squealing noise is telling you that the sound from the hearing aid is hitting the wax and leaking back out of the ear. That’s a good time to call your provider for a cleaning and checkup.
For people who have regular issues with hearing aids and wax you should schedule a clean and check appointment with your provider once a quarter. During your visit, we can clean your hearing aids and—if needed—be proactive about gently removing wax buildup in the ears with a curette. If you have more wax buildup, you may want to schedule a visit once a month or every two months. If you are proactive you can stay ahead of the problem.