Cerumen (ear wax) impaction

Ear Nose | Otorhinolaryngology | Cerumen (ear wax) impaction (Disease)


Ear wax protects the ear by trapping dust, bacteria and other microorganisms, and other foreign particles to prevent them from entering and damaging the ear and protect the delicate skin of the ear canal from becoming irritated when water is in the canal.

In some people, the glands produce more wax than can be easily removed from the ear. This extra wax may harden in the ear canal and block the ear. Additionally, earwax blockages commonly occur when people try to clean their ears on their own by placing cotton swabs or other items in their ears.

Signs and symptoms of earwax blockage may include: earache, feeling of fullness in the affected ear, ear noise called tinnitus and decreased hearing in the affected ear. Wax blockage is one of the most common causes of hearing loss.

Causes and Risk factors

Cerumen impaction or earwax blockage occurs when earwax accumulates in your ear or becomes too hard to wash away naturally.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Excessive wax can be removed by a doctor by using a small, curved instrument called a curette or by using suction while inspecting the ear. People who have frequent blockages may benefit from weekly irrigations. In some cases, a wax-removal medication such as carbamide peroxide may be recommended. ...