If removing earwax does not improve my hearing, what is the next step?

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Kristen Armstrong, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Cedar Park
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You should visit an audiologist to have your hearing evaluated. If your hearing decreased suddenly, it is a medical emergency and you should contact an ENT right away.
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Nikki Degeorge Weaver, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Newnan
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In my opinion, it's important to first confirm that all the ear wax has been removed.  When you are removing wax at home, you cannot be sure it is all removed unless a trained person can look into the ear with an otoscope.  If you are using Q-tips, you may see some wax on the Q-tip but also may be pushing more wax down in your ear further which could block sound.  If you used an ear wash, sometimes the fluid gets behind the wax and causes a blockage of some hearing until the rest of the wax and solution is removed.  

So, I would recommend seeing an Audiologist who can  make sure all the wax has in fact been removed.  If not, most Audiologists will remove the wax for you.  If the ears are clear, he or she can then complete a full diagnostic hearing test to determine if hearing loss is present and if so, where the hearing loss is coming from, if it's likely a permanent hearing loss, etc.  After this is determined, he or she can give you treatment options or refer you to another professional if needed.  

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Darby
Charles Darby MA, HIS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Little Rock
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Earwax (Cerumen) itself does not cause hearing loss. An abundance of earwax, to the point of blockage, can indeed reduce the amount of sound that reaches the eardrum. If removal of earwax hasn't corrected your loss, it's logical that you have loss resulting from another cause. The next step would be to see a hearing healthcare professional. An otoscopic inspection can quickly confirm a healthy eardrum or detect some condition that may be causing a hearing loss.  A routine audiometric hearing test can then reveal if you do have a measurable hearing loss and determine it's type. From there you can discuss your particular results and what treatment options may be available. 

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Alicia D.D. Spoor, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Highland
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The first thing you should do is visit an Audiologist to ensure the cerumen (wax) is completely gone and to have a comprehensive audiologic evaluation (i.e. hearing test).  The hearing test can then be used to triage to another professional, if needed, or to provide treatment with amplification.  You can find an Audiologist here:

http://www.audiologist.org/resources/patients/audiologistdirectory

http://webportal.audiology.org/Custom/FindAnAudiologist.aspx

http://www.asha.org/profind/

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Douglas Brown, MS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Syracuse
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Hearing loss can be a result of many different causes.  Most of them are harmless, but some are not.  A complete evaluation by a licensed audiologist will determine where in the auditory system the problem originates.  It may not be a hearing loss from the middle or inner ears, but a problem that occurs because of a processing inefficiency that requires more than the fitting of a hearing aid.  It is best to have the evaluation so the audiologist can determine where best to obtain your appropriate treatments - either return to your physician, or develop a treatment plan with you to reduce the affects the hearing difficulty is having in your daily routine.

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Neil Fine, MClSc - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Ottawa
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Get a full hearing assessment at a local hearing clinic and explain your situation in detail. Is the loss gradual or sudden, etc. Someone else mentioned if it is sudden, it is an emergency which is correct, and you should take action immediately. 

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Veronica
Veronica Heide, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Madison
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If removal of earwax does not improve your hearing you are left wondering, "What is wrong?"  In order to give you the answers, you need to have a diagnostic evaluation of your hearing by licensed Doctor of Audiology. A diagnostic evaluation is more than, "Can you hear the beeps?" Each part of the ear will be examined to determine where the problem is occurring.  Special testing may include middle ear analysis to rule out conditions such as middle ear fluid or stiffening of the middle ear bones; conditions that may be medically managed.  Other special tests (DPOAEs and ABR) can check the integrity of the ear's sensory and neural systems. There are also special tests that evaluate how you perceive and process sounds and speech.  So, while it might seem simple to take an online hearing test or get a free test, I would encourage you to see a licensed Doctor of Audiology for a diagnostic evaluation to get the best answer to your question because knowing what is causing your hearing problelm will determine the next steps and ultimately the outcome and your overall satisfaction with the solutions.

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Julie Norin, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Baltimore
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It sounds to me as though earwax is not the culprit and I would advise you to have your hearing tested. At least you will establish a baseline and determine if you have a hearing loss. Make sure you are being tested by a licensed and credentialed audiologist, who will be able to not only identify your hearing levels, but also determine if your hearing difficulties are related to any underlying middle ear issue, such as fluid behind the eardrums. If you are truly concerned, you can also see an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist for a medical consult. Good luck!!

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Dale Thorstad, BC-HIS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Hopkins
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A complete hearing evaluation by someone licensed to do so, i.e. an audiologist or a hearing instrument specialist.

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