Blocked ear: what to do?

How to open a blocked ear?

If you identify an earwax buildup and would like to ask for a specific ear cleaning, it is advisable to book an appointment with an ENT doctor to confirm the diagnosis. We strongly suggest not to proceed to removal by yourself since you can not be sure of the diagnosis, and solutions such as sprays or lukewarm saline are not always suitable.

What is ear wax blockage?

Earwax is a kind of yellow, orange or brown "wax", produced by specific glands in our ear canal called ceruminous. This secretion plays a very important role in ensuring the hygiene of the ear canal, cleaning all that can obstruct or interfere with its proper functioning: bacteria, dry skin, etc. A earwax blockage is an when earwax gets impacted in the ear canal. 

Ear wax build up symptoms

Explain that many symptoms may indicate the formation of impacted earwax:

  • decrease in hearing
  • buzzing
  • tinnitus
  • vertigo
  • pressure in one or both ears
  • ears full or clogged

Also stress out that t's important to prevent any irritation, itching and obviously pain in the ear canal.

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Blocked ears remedies and prevention

It's best to leave any wax build up to the medical professionals who know how to remove ear wax. Avoid putting objects, such as cotton buds or hair pins, directly into your ears. Even if you are using these to remove excess wax, you can easily damage your ear canal or ear drum, lodging wax further inside your ear. 

If you do want to try to prevent ear wax build up or treat issues at home, you can use ear drops or spray as recommended by our expert audiologists and audiometrists. This will liquify and loosen stubborn wax, allowing it to work its way out naturally. You can also carefully clean the outer ear area to help stop debris from getting inside.

Remove ear wax from babies and children

In babies and children, ear wax should ideally not be removed at all. If the wax in the baby's ear is too much, it can of course be wiped off with a lukewarm washcloth.

However, cotton swabs definitely do not belong in children's and baby ears. If parents observe a lot of wax in their ears, the pediatrician is the right answer. Of course, ear wax in children aged three and over can also be loosened with ear sprays and drops. But first ask your doctor or pharmacist about products that are suitable for children.

Is ear wax removal painful?

Anyone who is already in pain can have their earplugs removed by a doctor. You can read above how this works. Anyone who has had a plug more often because they are predisposed to it, usually recognizes at an early stage when a new one is forming. 

Have an ear wax plug removed by a specialist is not risky at all, on the other hand, never try to remove the earplug yourself with chopsticks or sharp objects. The risk of injury and the risk of pushing the wax plug deeper into the ear are big.

Ear wax that is liquid or too dry

Whether there is a tendency towards plug formation has something to do with the consistency of the ear wax. If there is rather liquid ear wax in the ear, an infection and incorrect ear care with cotton swabs can increase the risk of a plug. 

If the wax has become dry and sticky because the ear was unable to remove it properly, plugs form more quickly. By the way: hard or soft ear wax is a question of genes. For example, completely dry ear wax is quite normal for people from East Asia. Europeans and Africans are more likely to have moist earwax from birth.

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