Earwax protects your ears from infection and dust, but if it starts to build up, it can lead to an earache and block your hearing. When your earwax becomes impacted, the doctors at Specialty Physician Associates have several effective methods to safely remove the wax without the risk of harming your eardrum. To schedule an appointment, use online booking or call one of the offices in Bethlehem, Allentown, Quakertown, and Wind Gap, Pennsylvania.
Earwax, or cerumen, is produced by glands in your ear canal. The wax naturally lubricates and cleans your ear, and it has antibacterial properties that prevent infections. It also helps keep out water and traps dust and other particles.
As you chew and talk, the movement of your jaw slowly moves the earwax from the eardrum to the ear’s opening. After earwax reaches the opening, it normally dries up and falls out, carrying away all the particles it trapped.
You can develop an earwax blockage when you produce an excess amount of wax, or when the wax builds up and doesn’t leave your ear naturally. Earwax frequently becomes impacted when it gets pushed deep into the ear with cotton swabs or other items.
An earwax blockage causes symptoms such as:
In some cases, you may feel dizzy, have a cough, or develop an ear infection.
You may try self-care measures for an earwax buildup, like drops of mineral oil and cleaning the outside of your ear with a washcloth. If you need something stronger than over-the-counter products, your doctor at Specialty Physician Associates may prescribe earwax drops to soften and break up the earwax.
If your earwax becomes impacted, it should always be removed by your doctor so that you don’t risk damaging your fragile eardrum by placing cotton swabs or other items in your ear. Your doctor may irrigate your ear, using a syringe to insert warm water or a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide into your ear.
In some cases, your doctor at Specialty Physician Associates may remove earwax using a small curved instrument or suction to gently pull the wax out of the ear. If you have recurring episodes of earwax accumulation severe enough to cause symptoms, you may need to use ear drops weekly to help prevent the problem.
If your ear feels like it’s plugged, or you develop an earache, call Specialty Physician Associates or book an appointment online.