Ear wax is actually caused by the accumulation of dead skin found within the ear. Ear wax actually has many functional qualities! It has antibacterial properties and serves to trap dust and other particles that might enter the ear. Think of it as part of a self-cleaning mechanism inbuilt into the ear.
It is actually quite unnecessary to clean out the ear with ear diggers or cotton buds, which might serve the reverse purpose of pushing the ear wax in deeper. Over cleaning can also trigger more wax production. In certain patients, this might lead to a condition called impacted ear wax.
This condition occurs when an amount of ear wax accumulates in the ear that ends up causing a blockage. This obstruction can result in a loss of hearing as well as cause a potential ear infection.
A procedure known as an aural toilet will need to be conducted in order to clear the ear out. This involves using the suction of a ear vacuum with a microscope imaging tool for it to be safe.
Impacted ear wax occurs when a patient has ear wax that is stuck in the ear. Because of this, the eardrum is obstructed and this results in hearing loss and potentially ear infections.
This will need to be removed under ear vacuum suction under microscopic vision for it to be safe. The procedure is known as aural toilet.
I would not recommend ear syringing as this causes fluid to enter the ear canal which might lead to an ear drum injury.
Picture of a case of impacted ear wax
Picture of ear canal cleared with ear drum clearly visualized
There are some over the counter ear wax cleaning solutions that are moderately effective in unblocking your ears, but they sometimes make the blockage worse.
Apply ear wax cleaning solutions and follow the guidelines closely. It is good to massage the outer part of the ear so that the solution enters the ear completely. This should help unclog your ear in a few days. If this is ineffective, see an ENT specialist who will perform an aural toilet to clear your ear out.
I highly recommend against using home remedies to clean out the ears of ear wax or treat ear infections. They can be highly dangerous and damaging to the ear. For example, some say that the use of vinegar and alcohol may be effective. The acidic quality of these solutions can prove to be injurious to the ear canal or drum. In fact, some of my patients have even caused a hole in their ear drum from using these home remedies!
Besides ear wax cleaning solution, it is dangerous to use home remedies to clean the ears of ear wax or treat ear infections. Vinegar or alcohol has been described before. These solutions are acidic and can potentially injure the ear canal or ear drum. I have come across patients who sustained a hole in the ear drum from using these home remedies.
No. Impacted ear wax would mean that the ear wax is almost impossible to fully remove without surgery
Yes, ear wax commonly falls out by itself from time to time.
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