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Ear Wax

When to go to the doctor
  • If at-home removal is unsuccessful
  • If you suspect you have a perforated eardrum (recent ear infection, injury, loud noise, or pressure change from scuba diving)
  • If you develop drainage from your ear
  • If you experience severe pain, fever, or continuing hearing loss
When to go to the hospital
  • If you have a severe spinning sensation, loss of balance, or inability to walk
  • Persistent vomiting or high fever
  • Sudden loss of hearing
Self-Care at Home

The patient may try a few earwax removal methods at home unless they have a perforation (hole) or tubes in the eardrum.

Over-the-counter wax softening drops, for example, carbamide peroxide (Debrox, Auro, Murine) or warmed mineral oil may be put into the affected ear and then allowed to drain out after about five 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. It is very important not to use forced water, for example, 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.

Prevention

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.

A recent study has also suggested that ear wax may be prevented by application of a topical emollient.

Outlook
  • Complications
  • Perforated eardrum
  • Middle-ear infection
  • External-ear infection (swimmer's ear)
  • Permanent loss of hearing from acoustic trauma

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