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(Earwax; Ear Impaction; Ear Blockage)
|The Ear Canal|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- An inability of the ear to naturally clear itself of cerumen due to hardening
- Putting objects into your ears that push the cerumen deeper into the ear canal
- Trying to remove cerumen with a cotton-tipped swab
- A twisted, narrow, or complicated ear canal
- Ears that overproduce or make thick cerumen
- Dense hair growth in the ear canal
- Hearing aid or ear plug use
- Skin conditions such as eczema or seborra
- Intellectual disability
Using one of several instruments, including:
- Curette—This is a surgical instrument shaped like a scoop.
- Suction—When the cerumen is loosened, the earwax will be vacuumed.
- Flushing—The impacted cerumen may be rinsed using flushing equipment.
- Ceruminolytic agents—A ceruminolytic agent may be prescribed. This is a liquid-like solution used in the ear to soften the earwax and ease removal.
- Damage your eardrum—the membrane that vibrates and transmits sound to the middle ear
- Make yourself more prone to otitis externa—an infection or inflammation of the skin that lines the ear canal
- Injure the ear canal
- Cause the cerumen to become more impacted and more difficult to remove
- Do not clean your ears with anything more than a soapy washcloth on the outer rim of your ear.
- Do not use cotton-tipped swabs to clean anywhere inside your ears.
- Use medications as advised by your doctor to help prevent the buildup of earwax.
- If you are concerned about earwax, see your doctor. Do not attempt to remove the earwax by yourself.
- Schedule regular visits to remove earwax buildup as advised by your doctor.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD FAAP
- Review Date: 09/2017
- Update Date: 09/11/2014