Ear Wax: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention Earwax

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Earwax (Ear Wax)


 Earwax (ear wax) is produced by glands in the outer ear canal. Its purpose is to trap dust and other small particles and prevent them from reaching, and potentially damaging, the eardrum. Normally, the wax dries up and falls out of the ear, along with any trapped dust or debris.

 Blockage, or impaction, occurs when the wax gets pushed deep within the ear canal. Earwax blockage affects about 6% of people and is the most common ear problem doctors see.

 The most common cause of this is the use of Q-tips (and other objects such as bobby pins and rolled napkin corners), which pushes the wax deeper into the ear canal. Hearing aid and earplug users are also more prone to ear wax (earwax) blockage.

 Earwax (Ear wax) Symptoms:

 Decreased hearing
 Dizziness
 Ear pain
 Plugged or fullness sensation
 Ringing in the ear

Earwax (Ear wax) Treatment


 Self-Care at Home

 You may try a few ear wax (earwax) removal methods at home unless you have a perforation (hole) or tubes in your eardrum.

 Over-the-counter wax softening drops such as Debrox and Murine or warmed mineral oil may be put into the affected ear and then allowed to drain out after about 5 minutes.

 A bulb-type syringe may be used to gently flush the ear with warm water. Ear-Clear is a warm-water irrigation device that is available online for about $25-30. It is very important not to use forced water such as a Water Pik, because this may cause damage to the eardrum.

 Ear candling is not recommended. It is a hollow cone made of paraffin and beeswax with cloth on the tapered end. The tapered end is placed inside the ear, and an assistant lights the other end, while making sure your hair does not catch on fire. In theory, as the flame burns, a vacuum is created, which draws the wax out of the ear. Limited clinical trials, however, showed that no vacuum was created, and no wax was removed. Furthermore, this practice may result in serious injury.

 Medical Treatment

 The doctor may remove your earwax (ear wax) with a small plastic spoon called a curette, or by irrigating your ear with warmed water, sodium bicarbonate, or other prescription-strength eardrops.

Earwax (Ear wax) Prevention


 Ear wax (earwax) blockage can be prevented by avoiding the use of cotton-tipped swabs or Q-tips and other objects that push the wax deeper into the ear canal.



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