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Cerumen Impaction (Earwax Build Up)

Man With Earwax BuildupOne of the most common questions asked of an ear doctor is how to prevent wax build up. The ear is designed to clean itself of wax and dead skin. The ear in most cases should be self-cleaning. Some people are more at risk for cerumen impaction. This can be related to thick wax, narrow ear canals, or hair in the ear canals.

Many people habitually use Q-tips after a shower to get the water out of the ear and clean out wax. This can push wax further towards the eardrum. If wax touches the ear drum, it can be painful and cause muffled hearing. There are many products on the market to remove wax using oils, solutions, syringes, ear vacuums and candles. These may seem to help in some instances, but can also cause bigger problems like damaging the ear canal or eardrum.

If you have sudden hearing loss after using the shower, swimming or cleaning the ears, there may be wax obstructing the ear canal or covering your ear drum. If there also pain present, an ear canal infection (link otitis externa) may be to blame. The easiest and safest way to find out what is wrong with the ear is to see one of our doctors at Midwest ENT. If there is wax build-up, the most effective way to get it out is under a microscope so no damage is done to the ear.