Brookings

Cerumen Impaction

What is cerumen?

  • Commonly referred to as “ear wax.”
  • A waxy substance naturally secreted by the sebaceous glands of the ear. 
  • Helps lubricate the ear and protect it from infection.

What is cerumen impaction and what are the symptoms?

  • A total or nearÔÇÉtotal blockage of the ear canal by cerumen.
  • Symptoms include ear pain, itching, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and gradual hearing loss over several months.

How is cerumen impaction treated?

  • The presence of impacted cerumen may require removal by a physician oraudiologist.
  • The physician or audiologist uses special equipment to safely and effectively removecerumen from the ear.
  • In some cases, eardrops are prescribed to soften the cerumen before removal.

Should I try to remove cerumen myself?

  • Cerumen removal instruments such as cotton swabs and techniques such as “candling” are not recommended.
  • These methods may push wax further into the ear canal and could cause damage to the ear.
  • Talk with your audiologist or primary care physician about effective treatment for cerumen impaction.

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