Ear wax blockage can progress into a serious problem that can affect hearing or results to an ear infection. It is still not clear why the blockage occurs but some individuals seem to overly produce ear wax. Normally, the ear canal has a “self-cleaning” mechanism but there are circumstances when the ear might become clogged up with excess wax, thus requiring a doctor to perform proper removal.
Why ear wax is important?
Ear wax or cerumen lines the ear canal to protect the skin from water and ensnares bacteria and other debris, then expelling it.
The ear wax is considered beneficial and must not be removed. A minimal amount of ear wax might be expelled occasionally from the exterior ear canal and can be cleaned out with the help of a clean wash cloth over the little finger.
Indications of ear wax blockage
If the individual has ear wax blockage, he/she might experience some of these symptoms:
- Hearing loss
- Sensation of congestion or fullness in the ear
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
The doctor must be able to see the ear wax blockage with the help of specialized instruments such as an endoscope. The doctor will assess the ears to check if there is excess wax in the ear.
How to remove excessive ear wax
Even though an ear wax blockage is not considered as a medical emergency, it is recommended to have it removed by a doctor. Do not attempt to use a cotton swab or any pointed object to remove the wax.
This will only push the ear wax further down into the ear, thus creating or worsening the blockage or unintentionally ending up with a punctured ear drum.
There are other ways to eliminate the ear wax. One option is water irrigation in which the doctor will utilize a syringe filled with lukewarm water to flush out the wax from the ear. The procedure is mildly uncomfortable and allows a minimal amount to rest in the ear before irrigating to loosen up the wax. Some complain of dizziness or feel nauseous during the procedure. Remember that this is not always effective and there is a risk of introducing bacteria into the ear in the process.