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Earwax (also spelled ear wax), medically referred to as cerumen, is produced by glands in the outer ear canal. Blockage, or impaction of earwax occurs when the wax gets pushed deep within the ear canal or fills the width of the canal. Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape Cerumen Impaction Removal »Removal of cerumen (wax) from the ear is a significant amount of the workload of an otolaryngologist and is, therefore, an essential skill to master. Its purpose is to trap dust and other small particles and prevent them from reaching and potentially damaging the eardrum. Ear wax also helps protect the delicate skin of the ear canal from becoming irritated when water is in the canal.


Ceridal lipolotion, a lotion you rub in to treat dry skin, can be used to prevent an ear wax blockage.
The wax usually makes its way to the opening of the ear, where it falls out or is removed by washing. In some people, the glands produce more wax than can be easily removed from the ear.
Use body-temperature water (cooler or warmer water may cause brief but severe dizziness or vertigo). With your head upright, straighten the ear canal by holding the outside ear and gently pulling upward.
Use a syringe to gently direct a small stream of water against the ear canal wall next to the wax plug.


You may need to repeat irrigation several times. Never irrigate the ear if the eardrum may not be intact. Do not irrigate the ear with a jet irrigator designed for cleaning teeth (such as a WaterPik) because the force of the irrigation may damage the eardrum. After the wax is removed, dry the ear thoroughly.



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