Home | Blog | How to treat impacted earwax
Tips For How to treat impacted earwax

How to treat impacted earwax

What is earwax?

Cerumen, more commonly known as earwax, is made from dead skin and hair cells in the inner ear. Though most people think of earwax as something that causes their ears to feel clogged or as something they need to clean out, it provides lubrication to the ear and has antibacterial benefits. It helps protect the sensitive skin in the ear canal from irritation and prevents things such as dust and other small objects from entering the ear canal. 

Earwax naturally removes itself from the ear as it gets pushed through the ear canal by the jaw moving. Once the wax reaches the outer ear, it either falls out or gets removed by the washing process. 

What can cause earwax to become impacted? 

One common thing that causes earwax to become impacted is the use of cotton swabs, bobby pins, or similar items to attempt to clean out a person’s ears. Using these tools often causes the earwax to be pushed further back into the ear rather than cleaning it out. When earwax gets pushed further back into the ear, it prevents the body from naturally removing the wax. This can also cause injury to the ear over time. Cotton swabs are not your friend.

Long stretches of immobility and irregular hygiene habits can also lead to earwax becoming impacted. When your body is used to a certain level of activity, a change in that routine can cause earwax production to increase. 

How to treat impacted earwax

What are the symptoms of earwax buildup?

There are a few different signs that you may have impacted earwax. They include:

  • A feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Ringing in the ear, or tinnitus
  • A feeling of itchiness in the ear

Earwax can be both wet and dry depending on your environment and your body. A sign of impacted earwax in those with wet earwax is an almost constant bubbling sound in your ear. People with dry earwax may experience pain in the ear if the earwax becomes impacted.

How can impacted earwax affect your hearing?

Impacted earwax can cause hearing loss and potential damage to the ear. Because the earwax buildup can block certain parts of the ear, this also increases the risk of health issues not being identified. If the doctor is unable to see every part of the ear, they might not be able to diagnose certain health problems.  

How to properly clean your ears at home?

Because everyone’s ear is different, it is best to consult with your Provider before using any at home remedies. Some ear conditions may be irritated by the use of different substances that often show up in online searches for online remedies. 

How do I know if I need to get my earwax professionally removed?

If you have been using a home remedy to remove your earwax and have not seen great results, come into an office and get them professionally looked at. Some people produce a lot more earwax than others and need to go into an office to clean out their ears. 

Getting something stuck in your ear is a reason to get your wax removed professionally. On top of pushing the wax further back into your ear rather than removing it, the ends of cotton swabs can get stuck inside your ear. Other items such as bugs can also become stuck in your ear. When this happens, a professional will need to remove the item.

One other reason people may need to come into an office to get their earwax cleaned out is due to medical reasons. If you have had recent ear trauma or surgery, home remedies may not be suitable for you. Some people also have uniquely shaped ears and that can make home remedies less effective. An example of this is narrow ear canals. In these cases, visiting an office would be the best solution for built-up earwax.