Earwax is natural and cleans, lubricates, and protects the ear canals by trapping dirt and impeding the spread of bacteria. Most of the time, old earwax moves through the ear canal via jaw movements and chewing motions. When it spreads to the outside of the ear, it flakes off. Earwax blockage happens when earwax, also called cerumen, builds up in the ear or turns hard and becomes difficult to wash away. If excessive earwax is left untreated, the symptoms of the impaction will become worse. The signs and symptoms of earwax obstruction may include some of the following:
- A sensation of fullness in the ear
- Ear pain
- Problems hearing which may steadily become worse
- Ringing in the ear sensation known as tinnitus
- Ear itching
- Ear discharge
- Foul odor coming from the ear
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Probably the biggest problem with trying to remedy earwax build-up is the temptation to put something into your ears to remove the excess wax. Inserting an object in your ear can make the situation much worse. There are safe ways to take care of earwax build-up, and here are few of them:
- Earwax is normal. If the wax is not blocking your ear canal or causing hearing problems, leave it alone.
- Understand the symptoms. Know the signs of an earwax build-up such as decreased hearing, ear fullness, and ringing in the ears.
- Medical help. Seek out medical attention if there changes in your hearing, you experience a fullness in your ears or ear pain.
- Be wary of home remedies. Be sure to refer to a healthcare professional before you use any home remedies for earwax removal.
- Soak a cloth. Soak a towel in hot water then place it in a container you hold over your affected ear. The steam from the cup will help to soften the wax.
- Heat it. Consider placing hot packs and warm towels over the ears for pain relief.
The Wrong Way To Handle Earwax
- Overcleaning. Cleaning the ears too much irritates and can even infect the ear canal. Overcleaning can cause the wax to build up.
- Small objects. Do not put small objects into your ear. Cotton swabs, bobby pins, keys, paper clips, and others do not help the situation. These small objects can damage the eardrum, which may lead to many other problems.
- Ear candles. Many studies have demonstrated that using ear candles to remove earwax does not work. It can make the problem worse.
Time To See A Doctor
If home remedies do not release the hardened earwax, you may need to see an ear doctor to clean your ear or eliminate the blockage with a curette or other instrument. Earwax may return, and it is probable that you will treat excessive earwax build-up more than once during your lifetime. The good news is that excessive earwax build-up is usually a temporary problem with symptoms subsiding quickly. Keep your ears clean and remember to leave the earwax alone unless it is causing you hearing problems or blocking your ear canal.