Earwax removal is not always as easy as you think
Introduction and Symptoms
The ear canal secrets a waxy oil generally called earwax. In attempt to properly clean the ear, many people accidentally push the wax deeper, thereby causing blockage. Symptoms include internal pain in the ear, decrease in hearing, ear-ringing, itching, and mild dizziness.
Risk factors or causes
There are a number of factors and reasons for this problem in the ear. An excessive amount of secretion is one major cause. Others include inflammation, ear canals that are hairy and/or narrow, misguided cleaning using Q-tips, and continual exposure to dusty environments.
Treatment options vary, and you should talk to your doctor about the best procedure that suits you. The different methods include are listed as follows.
- Direct removal.
This process involves your doctor using a microscope or endoscope to get visuals of the inside ear. An instrument called a speculum is inserted into the ear, while an accompanying tool known as a cerumen spoon is used to scoop and scrape wax out of the ear. This has proven thus far to be the best method of cleaning out problematic wax.
- Irrigation/ Syringing.
In this procedure, a syringe is used to inject warm water into the ear canal. The water floats the excess wax out. Keeping a small amount of water in the ear before syringing can make the process more effective. One disadvantage of this technique is that in a case where there is perforation in the patient’s eardrum, water and wax could easily be pushed into the middle ear and cause infection.
- Water jets.
These devices forcefully use water to flush out the excess. Though this is effective, it is also messy and unappealing.
- Vacuum kits.
They basically suck out the wax like a vacuum cleaner. Studies have proven this method to be highly ineffective in comparison with others.
- O-T-C drops.
These are oil and peroxide- based products that are used to dissolve the earwax.
Self-care options are also available. Olive oil has become well known among patients, since it is easy to obtain and implement. About three drops three times a day for a few weeks is all that is needed to successfully soften the excess, which should then come out of its own accord. You should lay on the side of your head for some time so that the oil can be properly absorbed. Hydrogen peroxide can be used in conjunction with olive oil for even more effective results. Use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (one capful) in each ear to flush out the excess. An alternative to these is the use of eardrops. They can easily be purchased in any store. Eardrops perform basically the same function in softening and enhancing the natural process of excessive wax removal. In addition to these, pure water or pure salt solution also gets the job done just as effectively.
Drugs used in treating
There are various prescription and over-the-counter drugs which are used for blockage removal. The two major categories are cerumenolytics and otic anesthetics. Cerumenolytic drugs include Debrox, Murine, Auraphene-B, and Mollifene. Otic anesthetics include Auralgan, A/B Otic, Aurodex, and Aurax.