(Earwax; Ear Impaction; Ear Blockage)
|The Ear Canal|
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- An inability of the ear to naturally clear itself of cerumen
- 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 cerumen
- Age: affects the elderly and causes hearing loss
- Dense hair growth in ear canal
- Hearing aid use
- Intellectual disability
Your doctor using one of several instruments, including:
- Curette—This is a surgical instrument shaped like a scoop.
- Suction—When the cerumen is loosened, the doctor will vacuum the earwax.
- Flushing—Your doctor may rinse the impacted cerumen using flushing equipment.
- Ceruminolytic agents—Your doctor may prescribe or recommend using a ceruminolytic agent. This is a liquid-like solution that is used to drop into the ear and soften the earwax to help ease removal.
- Damage your eardrum—the membrane that vibrates and transmits sound to the middle ear
- Make yourself more prone to swimmer’s ear —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 build up 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 build up as advised by your doctor.
American Academy of Audiology http://www.audiology.org
American Speech–Language–Hearing Association http://www.asha.org
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.entcanada.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Cerumen impaction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated October 30, 2012. Accessed September 13, 2013.
Jabor MA, Amedee RG. Cerumen impaction. J La State Med Soc. 1997;149:358-362.
Mahoney DF. Cerumen impaction. Prevalence and detection in nursing homes. J Gerontol Nurs. 1993;19:23-30.
Olusanya BO. Hearing impairment in children with impacted cerumen. Ann Trop Paediatr. 2003;23:121-128.
Pray WS, Pray JJ. Earwax: Should it be removed? US Pharmacist. 2005;30(5).
2/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Ear candles: risk of serious injuries. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm201108.htm . Published February 20, 2010. Accessed February 26, 2010.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -