Earwax blockage occurs when earwax (cerumen) accumulates in your ear or becomes too hard to wash away naturally. Earwax is a helpful and natural part of your body's defenses. It cleans, lubricates and protects your ear canal by trapping dirt and slowing the growth of bacteria. If earwax blockage becomes a problem, you or your doctor can take simple steps to remove the wax safely. Blockage or impaction of earwax occurs when the wax gets pushed deep within the ear canal or fills the width of the canal. Earwax blockage affects about 6% of people and is the most common ear problem doctors see. The most common cause of this is the use of Q-tips in the ear canal (and other objects such as bobby pins and rolled napkin corners), which pushes the wax deeper into the ear canal. Hearing aid and earplug users are also more prone to earwax blockage.
Signs and symptoms of earwax blockage may include: Earache, Feeling of fullness in the affected ear, Ringing or noises in the ear (tinnitus), Decreased hearing in the affected ear, Dizziness, Cough etc.
Physicians can remove excess wax using a small, curved instrument called a curet or by using suction while inspecting the ear. Your doctor can also flush out the wax using a water pick or a rubber-bulb syringe filled with warm water. If earwax buildup is a recurring problem, your doctor may recommend that you use a wax-removal medication, such as carbamide peroxide (Debrox, Murine Earwax Removal System). Because these drops can irritate the delicate skin of the eardrum and ear canal, use them only as directed.