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    Filter Diseases & Condition

    Earwax blockage

    • Overview

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      When earwax (cerumen) builds up in your ear or becomes too hard to wash away naturally, it can block earwax. However, earwax is a crucial and natural part of your body’s defences as it helps clean, coat, and protect your ear canal by trapping dirt and slowing the growth of bacteria.

      If earwax blockage becomes problematic, your healthcare provider can take simple steps to remove the wax safely.

    • Symptoms

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      If you have an earwax blockage, you might notice the following signs and symptoms: earache, a feeling of fullness in the ear, ringing or noises in the ear (tinnitus), hearing loss, dizziness, cough, itchiness in the ear, odour or discharge in the ear, and pain or infection in the ear.

    • When to see a doctor

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      If you are experiencing earwax blockage symptoms, speaking with a healthcare provider is essential. While some cases of earwax blockage may clear up independently, it’s best to seek medical attention if you are experiencing earache or hearing loss.

      Knowing if you have excess earwax with someone looking in your ears is possible. Even if you are experiencing symptoms, another health condition could likely be the cause. A healthcare provider can safely remove excess earwax, as attempting to do so yourself could cause damage to your delicate ear canal or eardrum. This is especially important if you have had ear surgery, a perforated eardrum, or are experiencing ear pain or drainage.

      Children typically have their ears checked during routine medical exams, and a healthcare provider can remove excess earwax if necessary during an office visit.

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    • Causes

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      Did you know that glands in the skin of your outer ear canal produce the wax in your ears? This wax, along with tiny hairs in the passage, helps to trap dust and other harmful materials that could damage deeper parts of your ear, like your eardrum.

      Typically, a small amount of earwax naturally makes its way to the opening of your ear, where it’s either washed away or falls out as new wax replaces it. However, if your ears produce too much wax or aren’t cleared away correctly, it can build up and block your ear canal.

      Using cotton swabs or other items to remove earwax on your own can worsen by pushing the wax further into your ear. So, it’s best to leave earwax removal to the professionals.

    • Risk factors

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      The body produces earwax, and cerumen, to keep the ear canal clean and protected. However, too much earwax can cause blockages, discomfort, hearing loss, and infection. Certain factors, such as using cotton swabs or other objects to clean the ears, wearing hearing aids or earplugs for long periods, having narrow ear canals, and producing excessive amounts of earwax, can contribute to earwax blockages. It is recommended to avoid putting objects in the ears and to clean the outer ear regularly with a damp cloth to prevent blockages.

    • Prevention

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      Excessive earwax can cause discomfort, hearing impairment, and infection, but it’s a common issue that can be prevented. Cleaning your ears regularly with gentle and non-invasive methods, such as using a soft cloth or cotton swab, is one of the most effective ways to prevent earwax buildup. Avoid pushing earwax further into the ear canal by refraining from using objects. Limiting the use of earplugs or headphones for long periods is also helpful. Follow these simple tips to keep your ears healthy and free from earwax blockages.

    • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

    Content Details

    Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

    Last updated on: 14/08/2023