Earwax blockage occurs if the body generates excess earwax or when the existing wax is pushed far into the ear canal. In some cases, an individual might not be able to hear but this usually lasts only until the excess earwax is removed. In most circumstances, home remedies can work but a doctor should also be consulted to help get rid and unplug the earwax blockage.
What are the causes?
The existence of some earwax is considered normal. It is important to note that earwax protects the inner ear from debris such as dust and bacteria. Essentially, the wax moves out of the ear in a gradual manner so that there is no obstruction. Nevertheless, an individual might end up with blockage if the wax is driven deep into the ear or naturally produce excess earwax.
Using a cotton swab or other objects in an attempt to remove the earwax only pushes it further into the ear, thus resulting to an obstruction.
Production of excess earwax
If the body naturally produces large amounts of earwax, the ear could not easily get rid of it. In such cases, the earwax can harden in the ear, thus it is not likely to move its way out on its own.
What are the indications of earwax blockage?
One of the primary symptoms of earwax blockage is diminished hearing in the affected ear. Remember that the hearing returns once the blockage is eliminated. The other usual symptoms include the following:
- Sensation of fullness in the ear
- Buzzing, ringing or other unusual noises in the ear
Many individuals usually notice these symptoms in one ear since it is not likely that both ears are clogged at the same time. If symptoms occur in both ears, a doctor should be consulted to rule out other medical conditions.
The doctor will ask the individual about his/her symptoms before providing a diagnosis of earwax blockage. A lighted instrument called an otoscope is used to check the ear and see if the wax is responsible for the symptoms.
The doctor will treat the earwax blockage in the clinic or provide instructions to be done at home. In case the doctor believes that the eardrum is not intact, the earwax is removed to ensure that this essential part of the ear is not damaged.
There are various substances that can soften and get rid of earwax at home such as the following:
- Mineral oil
- Baby oil
- Over-the-counter earwax removal kits
With an eyedropper, insert a few drops into the ear canal 2 times a day for 4-5 days to soften the earwax. Once it softens, it must move out of the ear on its own within a few days. In case this does not work, you can apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide in the ear to remove the wax.
Irrigation is another home measure. Simply fill a rubber ball syringe with warm water. Tilt the head of the individual and pull the earlobe slightly so that the water can be directed into the ear canal. This procedure must be repeated a few times. Make sure that the ear is thoroughly dry after attempting to eliminate the earwax blockage.