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Ear Wax Blockage: Symptoms and Treatment

Written by
Dr. Vaishali Mehta
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Jun 16, 2014 and last reviewed on Oct 15, 2018   -  1 min read


Ear wax is a very common cause of impaired hearing. It is commonly treated with a procedure called syringing.

Ear Wax Blockage: Symptoms and Treatment

Ear wax is a common problem seen in many people. Ear wax is a secretion of the glands present in your ear. Normally, only small amounts of wax are formed which gets expelled with the movements of the jaw. Some people form more wax which gets collected in the ear and causes problems.

Who Tends to Form More Wax?


If you have excessive ear wax build-up, you will commonly complain of difficulty in hearing and sensation of blockage.

Occasionally, there may be giddiness.

A person with wax may suddenly feel a complete block in the ear when water enters the ears and wax swells up.


The wax needs to be removed by an ENT specialist using a simple procedure called syringing. Your doctor may initially prescribe some ear drops to soften the wax. Following the softening, he will remove the wax with syringing or using instruments.


Frequently Asked Questions


What Does It Mean When You Have a Lot of Earwax?

Some people tend to get a lot of earwax than others. This is particularly noted in swimmers. This might result in abnormal sounds and other symptoms. It can also result in impaction or blockage of the ears.


Is a Lot of Earwax Normal?

A lot of earwax is not normal. In a healthy individual, the excess of wax that is formed naturally comes out of the ear canals. In case of any ear problems, excessive earwax gets blocked into the ears. By cleaning the wax with earbuds, the wax gets pushed deeply and causes severe problems.


How Can I Identify a Buildup of Earwax?

An increase in the earwax can be identified with the following symptoms.
- Dizziness.
- Feeling of fullness in the affected ear.
- Earache.
- Cough.
- Decreased hearing in the affected ear.
- Ringing or noises in the ear (tinnitus).


Is It Necessary to Remove Earwax?

If the wax is present at minimal levels, then cleaning the ear canals is not necessary. If there is an excessive buildup of earwax, then the person starts experiencing unusual sounds and symptoms. This is an indication of the complete filling of the earwax into the ears. Only in such cases, the removal of earwax is necessary.


What Are the Foods That Can Cause Earwax?

The foods that are rich in gluten can cause excessive production of earwax. In most cases, abnormal production of earwax happens due to the inflammatory response caused by gluten. Gluten is considered a poison, and the inflammatory process that happens in response to gluten is the body's protective mechanism.


How do Doctors Clean the Ears?

An ENT specialist will carry out the cleaning of the ears. Cleaning the ears in the hospital setup is one of the safest methods. The doctor will use specialized instruments like forceps, cerumen, spoon, and suction devices to remove the blockage in the ears.


Should I Clean My Ears Frequently?

It is not necessary to clean your ears frequently. The ears have a self-cleaning capacity, and you should clean them only once a week. You can use a damp cloth to wipe the ears gently.


Why Does Ear Cleaning Feel Good?

Cleaning of ears feels good because the ear is rich in nerves and nerve endings. It is considered to be an erogenous zone. The excessive sensitivity of nerve ending present in the ears provides a soothing and comfortable feeling.


What Is the Cause of Smelly Earwax?

A terrible smell from the earwax is an indicating sign of severe infection. Some kind of bacteria that do not require oxygen to grow might be found in the ear canals. These bacteria might give a foul-smelling odor.


Should I Clean My Ears Deeply?

You should not clean your ears deeply. Only a superficial and gentle cleaning of the ears is recommended. If you are trying to use bobby pins, cotton buds, or other small objects to clean your ears, then there are chances for the ear wax to go very deep into the ear canals.


How to Dissolve the Earwax Quickly?

The quickest and safest method to dissolve earwax is to undergo an earwax removal procedure in a clinic. The suction devices used in this procedure can quickly remove the excessive buildup of earwax. Usage of drops for removing the wax might take a longer time.


What Happens if Earwax Is Not Removed?

If earwax is not removed, the patient will not experience any symptoms initially. But in the long run, the patient will have severe noise disturbances and hearing loss. A tingling sensation in the ears might accompany this. You can consult a doctor for earwax removal.


How Do You Remove Deep Earwax?

Initially, you have to soften the wax using the application of any of the following in the ear canals.
- Mineral oil.
- Baby oil.
- Hydrogen peroxide.
- Glycerin.
After two days of application, the wax would have softened, and it could be removed by gently squirting warm water. After this procedure, you have to dry the ear canals.


Is Earwax-Removal Drop Efficient?

Yes, earwax drops are effective, but it does not work positively for all patients. Drops for earwax is a very cost-effective method to remove the excess wax buildup.


How Long Does It Take for Earwax Removal Drops to Work?

The time taken for dissolving the earwax using earwax removal drops might vary from one person to another. Generally, it takes a few days for the wax to come out. The drops should be applied twice a day for three to five days. This can help in softening the wax faster.


What Is the Safe Procedure to Remove the Wax?

At-home ear wax can be removed by using five to ten drops of hydrogen peroxide by tilting your head. Earwax softening drops can be used twice a day. In clinical setup, ear wax can be removed using a curved instrument called a curette or by a suction procedure.


Is Earwax Removal a Painful Procedure?

Earwax removal is not a painful procedure. The patient would not require any local and general anesthesia. If the doctor uses the suction for wax removal, it might feel uncomfortable in the initial stages.

Last reviewed at:
15 Oct 2018  -  1 min read




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