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Earwax

What is Earwax Blockage?

Earwax is essential for the health of your ears. Cerumen or earwax in normal amounts is essential as it protects, cleans and lubricates your ear canals. It traps dirt and other small particles and prevents them from reaching, damaging and infecting your inner ear. Old earwax dries up and falls out of the ear along with the dirt and other impurities. If your ears produce excessive amounts of earwax or your ear canals fail to take out the earwax efficiently, your ears are more susceptible to earwax blockage or impaction.

If you are suffering from Cerumen impaction, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!

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What Causes Earwax Blockage?

Earwax is only formed in the outer one-thirds of your ear canal. The use of foreign objects to clean out the wax may lead to earwax accumulation near the eardrum. The most important cause of earwax blockage is the use of cotton-tipped applicators such as Q-tips, bobby pins or twisted napkin corners to clear out the ears. Instead of cleaning your ears out, these tools can push the earwax deeper into the ear canal. The wax hardens and blocks the ear.

What are the Symptoms of Earwax Blockage?

Earwax blockage or Cerumen impaction can cause following symptoms:

  • Earache
  • Fullness in the ears
  • Plugged sensation
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired hearing or hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ear (Tinnitus)
  • Itching in the ear
  • Drainage from the ear canal
  • Coughing

What are the Risk Factors for Earwax Blockage?

Following are some important risk factors for earwax blockage:

  • If the glands in your ear canals are genetically inclined to produce more than average amounts of earwax, the chances of impaction increase
  • If you have smaller or irregular shaped ear canals, you are more likely to experience earwax impaction
  • Hearing aid and earplug users are also more likely to develop symptoms of ear wax blockage

When Should I see a Doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of the earwax blockage, you should get your ears examined by an experienced ENT specialist. In severe cases, earwax impaction can have serious implications. It is necessary to consult a medical practitioner immediately, if you experience any of the following symptoms.

  • Severe spinning sensation
  • Loss of balance
  • Inability to walk
  • Persistent vomiting
  • High fever
  • Sharp pain in your ears
  • Headache
  • Sudden loss of hearing

How is Earwax Blockage Diagnosed?

A professional otolaryngologist can diagnose the presence and extent of earwax blockage by asking you for your symptoms in detail. He/she will probe your ear with the help of an illuminated tool called otoscope and will prescribe the necessary treatment procedures depending on the severity of your condition.

How is Earwax Blockage Treated?

In moderate cases of earwax impaction, following home treatments can be of help:

  • Softening the earwax by placing a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil or glycerin in the ears
  • Over the counter wax softening drops
  • Gentle ear-irrigation using a commercially available irrigation kit

It is important to remember that these home-care techniques should not be used if your eardrum has a perforation, you have a weakened immune system or have eczema in your ear canal.

Your ENT doctor may prescribe following treatment procedures to remove the earwax:

  • Suction or manual earwax removal through curette
  • Ear drops
  • Prescription medication

If you are prone to excessive earwax production or repeated earwax impaction, regular checkups from an ENT specialist can help you prevent complications. If you are suffering from Cerumen impaction, do not hesitate to set up an appointment with our skilled and experienced ENT specialists. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and start your journey to quick recovery!