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Earwax Blockage

Earwax Blockage Causes

Lined with hair follicles, the ear canal has glands that produce or secrete waxy oil called cerumen. The said wax protects the ear by trapping dust, microorganisms, and other foreign articles. The cerumen usually makes it way to the opening of the ear in most people, and then it falls out or is removed by washing. In some cases though, the glands produce more wax that hardens within the ear. If not cleared properly and effectively, the wax will be pushed deeper into the ear canal and cause blockage.

Earwax Blockage Definition

Earwax blockage is the obstruction of the ear canal with cerumen. Cerumen or popularly known as earwax is part of the body's natural defenses that protects the ear canal by trapping dirt and slowing the growth of bacteria.

Earwax Blockage Diagnosis

Health providers perform a physical examination and look for signs of ear blockage. A microscope is also occasionally used to remove the wax.

Earwax Blockage Symptoms and Signs

Among the signs and symptoms of ear blockage are earaches, feeling of fullness in the involved ear, ear noise or tinnitus, and decreased hearing in the involved ear.

Earwax Blockage Treatment

Most ear wax blockage cases can be treated at home using mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial drops that can soften the wax. Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide may also aid in removing the wax. Irrigation is another method of treating the blockage. This is done by using a body-temperature water and directing a small stream of water against the ear canal wall next to the wax plug using a syringe. This must be done with the head upright and then tipping the head to drain the water. The ear should be dried thoroughly with a few drops of alcohol or setting a hair dryer to low. If attempts are unsuccessful, it is best to consult a health provider. Most doctors also use irrigation and suctioning.

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