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Everything you need to know About Earwax

Earwax is produced by the glands in the ear canal to trap small particles that could potentially harm the eardrum. While everyone produces ear wax, certain factors, such as the size of the ear canal and age, can impact the amount of ear wax produced.

Outside Factors that Influence Wax Buildup

Six percent of people suffer from earwax blockage that is caused by a range of issues, including:

  • Ethnicity – Typically, people of Asian descent have more dry earwax buildup, which can cause more irritation.
  • Hearing aids – Regular use of hearing aids or ear plugs can cause ear wax blockages.
  • Over-cleaning – Over-cleaning ears with Q-tips can remove superficial wax buildup, but it can also push the rest of the wax deep into the canal.

Symptoms and Treatment for Earwax Buildup

Earwax buildup can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as decreased hearing, dizziness, ear pain, ringing in the ear and itching. If you suffer from symptoms caused by earwax, an ENT doctor will be able to properly diagnose and treat the condition. Common treatment options are:

  • Professional cleaning by an ENT physician – During the cleaning, a physician removes ear wax with a plastic spoon, called a curette.
  • Over-the-counter drops – Over-the-counter wax softening drops, such as Debrox or Murine may be used to clean the ear. Drops are placed into the ear and allowed to drain for five minutes while holding your head to the side. Sitting up causes the drops to drain out by themselves.
  • Bulb-type Syringe Flush – Use a bulb-type syringe to gently flush out your ear with warm water. Make sure the water is at body temperature or it could cause extreme dizziness.

Consult Dr. Marc Dean in Fort Worth, TX for information on ear wax buildup treatment options.

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