Get E-Book on COVID-19

Ear health Data Verified

Here Is What You Need to Know About Earwax

Written by
Dr. Kumar Ashutosh
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Sep 18, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  2 min read



Wax is a natural secretion of the ceruminous and sebaceous glands found in the ear canal. It protects the eardrum from infections, trauma, and water. Though wax is not a problem, excess wax is. Professional help must always be taken for wax cleaning.

Here Is What You Need to Know About Earwax

Earwax is a natural secretion and has antibacterial and lubricant properties. It also protects the eardrum from infections, trauma, and water. Some people produce soft wax, while others produce hard wax. This is genetically determined.

Normally, earwax occurs as fine flakes which fall off during jaw movements while chewing. But, it may accumulate in the ear due to various reasons.

What Causes Excessive Earwax to Form?

Excessive earwax can build up in the canal either because of the person's tendency to produce hard wax or due to pushing of the wax deeper into the canal by the use of earbuds and other objects.

It can cause pain, hearing problems, itching, ringing sensations in the ear, heaviness, ear fullness and ear discharge. Treatment options include the use of wax softening agents, instrumentation and syringing. Self-cleaning of the wax buildup should always be avoided as it may cause trauma to the eardrum. Always seek help from a professional ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor for wax cleaning.

Symptoms of Excess Earwax Buildup

  1. Pain: wax is the most common cause of earache.
  2. Hearing problem: wax buildup can cause hearing problems due to mechanical obstruction. Deafness may also be precipitated when water enters the ear during a bath as it can swell the wax.
  3. Itching: earwax impaction can cause ear irritation and itchiness.
  4. Ringing sensation in the ear: also known as tinnitus, the ringing can be intermittent or continuous.
  5. Heaviness and ear fullness: trying to clean the ears often pushes the earwax further into the canal causing a blockage.
  6. Ear discharge: discharge and odor follow as a result of an ear infection caused by improper methods of wax removal.

Treatment for Earwax Impaction

Wax softening agents: Several wax-softening agents like oils, hydrogen peroxide solution and wax drops containing paradichlorobenzene, benzocaine, and turpentine oil are available which soften the wax.

Instrumentation: Your healthcare professional can clean the blocked ears using special and sterilized instruments. Do not try cleaning them by yourselves. It can cause an injury to your eardrums.

Syringing: In this procedure, your health care provider will flush your ear canal with warm saline or water. This will remove the wax from your ears.

Earcare Tips

  1. Do not put earbuds or bobby pins into your ears. This will push the earwax deeper and can even traumatize your eardrum.
  2. Do not pour hot oil into the ear canal as it can damage your eardrum.
  3. Do not use cold water to clean your ears as it can cause vertigo.
  4. Using earphones for prolonged periods can push the wax deeper into the ear canal making it difficult to remove.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online -->


This is a sponsored Ad. icliniq or icliniq doctors do not endorse the content in the Ad.

Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  2 min read


Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat


Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

I have ear pain after removing ear wax. Is it serious?

Query: Hello doctor, I have been suffering from ear pain for the last two days and it has become really serious now. The entire right side of my face has gone numb and I am not able to hear properly in my right ear. I can listen to some hissing sound. I remember cleaning my ear with my fingers and tried to...  Read Full »

What is the reason for tinnitus in my ear?

Query: Hello doctor, Recently, my ENT doctor suctioned a lot of fungus from my right ear and it fixed the problem. However, high pitched ear ringing continues to be a problem without any pain. It is more of a pulsating feeling and that synchronizes with my heart rate when I am in the prone position. My h...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on ?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: All health articles published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.