By: Amber White
Most of the time when a patient comes in complaining of an ear ache it tends to be a child, however sometimes adults do have ear pain from time to time. One of the main causes of ear aches in adults is an ear wax impaction. Earwax, or cerumen, is a self-cleaning agent that your body produces. It collects dirt, bacteria, and other debris. Usually, the wax works its way out of the ears naturally through chewing and other jaw motions. For the most part, many people never need to clean their ears but sometimes, wax can build up and affect your hearing. When earwax reaches this level, it results with an impaction.
If you have impaction, you may experience symptoms like:
-Aching in the affected ear
– Fullness or ringing in the ear
– Impaired hearing in the affected ear
– An odor coming from the affected ear
The first thing you think of when you think about cleaning your ears is to grab a Q-tip, however that can only make the problem worse. Q-tips are meant to be used to clean the outside of the ear only. When used inside the ear canal you can do more damage than good. It actually pushes the ear wax further and further back into the ear.
The safest way to remove wax buildup from your ears is to visit your doctor. At your appointment, your doctor can irrigate the ear by using a device that flushes water into the ear to loosen and remove the wax.
If you choose to try to remove wax at home, here are some safer methods than Q-tips:
- Try wiping the area with a warm, damp washcloth.
- Earwax Softener-Many pharmacies sell over-the-counter ear drops that soften wax. Always follow the instructions on the package.
- Syringe-You may also choose to irrigate your ears using a syringe. In this process, you’ll gently rinse out the ear canal using water or a saline solution. This method is often more effective if you first use some type of wax softener 15 to 30 minutes before irrigating.
Also, when adding any solution to the ear be it earwax softener or saline solution, remember to warm it to your body temperature. This will help you to avoid any dizziness caused by introducing something cold into the ear.
Hope you have found these tips helpful and if you decide you need to seek medical attention we would be more than happy to take care of you here at 45 Urgent Care, PC! You can reach us Monday-Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm at (731) 554-0571, or simply come on in….you don’t need an appointment, we take walk-ins too!