If this is the first time you are going to an audiologist for an ear cleaning appointment, it is completely normal to be a little nervous. Experts recommend having your ears professionally cleaned if you’re experiencing any pain, itching or hearing loss. Ear cleaning, however, is a simple procedure that is pain-free, although may feel uncomfortable at first. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect during your ear cleaning.

1. Medical history

The first thing that you will do when you go for your ear cleaning at your audiologist’s clinic is fill out a form telling them about your medical history. It is very important to be honest because certain conditions, such as a compromised immune system, may make it impossible for you to receive an ear cleaning because of the risks involved. Your audiologist would want to know if you have any active infections or history of damage to the inner ear in order to determine whether it is safe to conduct an ear irrigation on you.

2. Taking a peek inside

Before the process can begin, your doctor will take a quick peek inside your ear to see if there is an excessive buildup of earwax and debris inside your ears that can be removed with ear cleaning. To do so, the doctor will use an instrument called an otoscope that has a light bulb on it. Once inserted, the otoscope will magnify the images of the inside of your ear so that your doctor can see clearly what the buildup looks like.

3. Flushing it out

Once the audiologist has located the accumulation, they will begin the ear cleaning. This is done by using a syringe with water or water with saline solution that is pumped into your ear. The liquid will then soften the mass and help it slide out of your ear canal. This is the part where certain complications may occur, which may push the mass of hardened earwax to move further down the ear canal. Even though the possibility of such an incident is low, it is still a risk of ear cleaning.

4. Ear ointments

When your ear irrigation is complete, your audiologist will help you clean up and dry your ear. You might feel slight discomfort or sensitivity in your ears, which is completely normal. Some people become vulnerable to ear infections after their ear irrigation since all of the protective earwax is also removed. Your doctor may give you certain ear ointments to use for a few days to help with the sensitivity and discomfort.

5. Side effects

Although rare, there is a chance of certain side effects after your ear cleaning. Apart from the irritation in their ear, some people also complain of slight dizziness after their cleaning. People have also complained of tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears. In most cases, these side effects recede after a while.