Causes of Earwax Blockage
Cerumen (ear wax) is normal. Everyone produces ear wax but those patients who produce an excessive amount may experience a blockage in one or both ears causing some hearing loss, ear pain ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or dizziness. The use of Q-tips can cause more harm than good by pushing the earwax farther in the ear canal. Earphone and ear plug usage can also cause wax buildup, as the earphones can prevent earwax from naturally coming out of the ear canal.
Symptoms of Earwax Blockage
Earaches, a feeling of fullness in the ear, hearing loss and ringing in the ear (tinnitus) are all common signs of earwax blockage. If the earwax is not removed an infection can develop. This would include severe pain in the ear that does not subside and a fever. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to your ENT doctor, as these may also be signs of a more serious condition.
How Does an ENT Treat an Earwax Block?
In order to diagnose a buildup of earwax, your doctor will need to look in your ear with a special magnifying instrument called an otoscope. Once diagnosed, your doctor can remove the wax buildup a few ways: with a small curved instrument called a curet, through suction or by flushing out the wax using a water pick or warm water. If this continues to be a problem, wax-removal medications may be recommended. Make an appointment to visit Drs. Mendians or Hengy for cerumen removal if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.
How to Remove Stubborn Ear Wax at Home
As long as your ear is healthy and does not have tube or a hole in it, at-home treatments can be helpful to manage earwax buildup. An eyedropper can be used to apply a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide into the ear canal; this is done to soften the wax.
Once soft, after an hour or a few days, the wax is ready to be removed. A rubber-bulb syringe can be used to gently squirt warm water into the ear canal. Once the water has drained out of the ear, the ear should be dried with a towel. This procedure can be repeated several times until the wax has been removed.
Call Western Michigan ENT at (231) 398-9536 for more information or to schedule an appointment.