What is Earwax Impaction?
The ear canal produces cerumen, also known as ear wax. Ear wax helps to protect the inner ear from foreign particles, dust, and microorganisms, as well as irritation due to water. Normally, extra ear wax will move into the ear opening, and is washed away. However, sometimes our glands can create more earwax than we need. This wax may become hard and block the ear, even causing temporary hearing loss.
There are multiple signs and symptoms of earwax buildup. These include:
- Sudden hearing loss or difficulty hearing
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- Ear pain
If earwax impaction is left untreated, it can lead to infection. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact a health care professional.
Causes of Earwax Impaction
Some individuals may produce too much earwax, which can cause a buildup. However, the most common cause for earwax impaction is using cotton swabs to try to remove earwax. This often pushes the wax deeper into the ear canal.
Treatment for Earwax Impaction
If you are experiencing a buildup of earwax, do not try to forcibly remove it yourself, as you could permanently damage your ear. However, there are some ways that patients can help earwax to make its way out of the ear canal. Softening earwax is one option, using over-the-counter drops made up of mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide, baby oil, carbamide peroxide, or glycerin. Ear irrigation is another option using an over-the-counter kit.
If you are unable to obtain relief from these treatment options, you should seek medical treatment from Ultra Med Urgent Care. Our professionals will help to treat your symptoms quickly and effectively.