Earwax blockage and removal

How to remove impacted earwax
Last update on Jul, 13, 2021

Amplifon can help you recognise a earwax buildup by identifying its symptoms, but we advise you to consult an ENT doctor who will address you to the most appropriate treatment.

What is earwax blockage?

Earwax is a kind of yellow, orange or brown "wax", produced by specific glands called ceruminous, in the ear canal. This secretion plays an 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. 

Recognise impacted earwax symptoms

Many symptoms may indicate the formation of impacted earwax. It is possible to feel a decrease in hearing, buzzing, tinnitus or even vertigo. Some people also feel pressure in one or both ears, while others have a feel ears full or clogged. Finally, it's important to prevent any irritation, itching and obviously pain in the ear canal.

Earwax buildup treatment

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.

Have ear wax removed

You should not be afraid to go to the ear, nose and throat doctor - especially if a plug has already formed. 

  • Depending on the situation in the ear, the doctor will decide on a specific cleaning method. For example, he can remove the earwax that has already clumped into a plug. To do this, he inserts a thin tube into the ear and uses it like an ear wax removal tool.
  • You can also have ear wax removed by the doctor by carefully pulling the plug out of your ear with a tiny instrument.
  • The doctor can also remove ear wax with a syringe: the method is similar to the options available at home. A solution with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide is injected into the ears, which dissolves the plug. This method is called ear irrigation, also known as ear flushing.

Remove earwax 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 dangerous?

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 clogged with wax

A clogged ear does not necessarily mean an ear wax plug. Often the ear is clogged with wax, which is still soft and can be easily loosened with oil, drops or spray, so that it then simply flows out.

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.


How can you prevent impacted earwax?

It is not essential to get rid of cerumen, whose presence is natural, and beware of cotton buds. The earwax, when it is close to the outer ear, can be removed once a week maximum, especially not going further than the length of the little finger. Pass the little finger covered with a damp cloth or handkerchief in your ears or, in the shower, just let a stream of warm water flow inside.


News & Blog

Catch up on the latest news and stories on hearing health.
Learn more

Get support and advice

Book a free hearing test

Book now

Test your hearing online

Take the test

Find your nearest store

Find a store