Header Top

Due to COVID-19, the Hearing & Balance Doctors will be OPEN for essential/urgent issues at this time. We will also be offering a Drive-Thru service for hearing aids. Please call (435) 688-8991 for more information. Click for Update Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Due to COVID-19, the Hearing & Balance Doctors offices are closed until March 29th. We are seeing patients on an essential or urgent basis only. If you have an essential or urgent need, please call our office at (435) 688-8991 and leave a message. Click for Update Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

Ear Wax (Cerumen) Removal

Dust and gunk can appear deep inside the ear canal. To take care of this problem, cerumen, which is the scientific term for earwax, is created. Cerumen originates in glands within the ears. It helps protect the canal from outside elements.

Though Cerumen is usually a self-clearing substance, sometimes it can build up and block the canal, making it difficult to hear and possibly leading to infection.

Clogged Cerumen Symptoms

  • Loss of hearing
  • Pain in the ear
  • Pressure within the ear
  • Noise within your ear, also called tinnitus

When clogging is detected, removal is often necessary. In some cases, you can take out the blockage at home, but other times, you’ll need to visit a doctor. It all depends how large the blockage is.

Cotton Swabs Can Damage Your Inner Ear

A common method for clearing earwax is cotton swabs. This can lead to more serious problems. Use of the swabs can deepen the earwax buildup, increasing the risk for greater ear damage.
Cotton swabs can be abused, increasing the risk within your ear canal for damage. In some instances, they can be pushed further into the ear canal. If this happens, it can aggravate the interior or leave behind wisps of cotton that can lead to hearing loss or other damage.

For safe cleaning of the ears, only use cotton swabs on the parts of the ear visible from the surface. Cotton swabs and other small objects should stay out of the canal for your safety.

Removing Cerumen at Home

There are kits that can be used for the removal of earwax. You can obtain one of these from a physician, but they’re often sold at pharmacies without a prescription.

Inside the kits, you’ll usually find a solution that will relax the cerumen. Many have described the feeling of the cerumen softening as “bubbly.” With a special syringe, you’ll insert warm water that will clear away the earwax. Unfortunately, this may not cure your earwax blockage in one day. Sometimes it can take up to a week for your hearing restore completely as long as you repeat the process daily.

There are also certain warnings and precautions for using this method. Some people may have ear problems or other related conditions that can make the process more dangerous than helpful. To be on the safe side, it’s always recommended to ask a physician before using an at-home removal kit.

Clearing Cerumen at the Doctor’s

If an at-home kit does not remove the buildup after several days or the clog is severe, you’ll need to see a doctor.

There are two ways that doctors usually clear earwax buildup. The first is called irrigation. This is the more prevalent strategy, and it involves a stronger lubricant to soften the cerumen, usually carbamide peroxide. Like with your at-home kit, once the medicine has been applied, water will be used to flush out the earwax.

The second, and less frequently applied strategy is using a curette to remove excess ear wax. This is a lengthy, arched apparatus that will use suction to manually clean the excess wax from your ear. This is usually only used when the first and more comfortable method is unsuccessful.

Visiting a physician for cerumen blockage is an important step to wellness. Removal of the clog will eliminate pain and allow you to hear well once again.