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How do I Treat an Ear Wax Blockage?

By Jacob Queen
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

If you develop an ear wax blockage, there are a few different ways to treat it and most of them won’t generally require a doctor’s help. For starters, you can buy special ear drops that are formulated to soften ear wax. Sometimes these will work alone, and in cases where they don’t, it’s possible to use irrigation therapy to wash the earwax away. Some people also use substances like mineral oil and baby oil instead of commercial ear drops, and supposedly, these can work, too.

If you choose to go with the commercial drops, applying them may require two people. It’s theoretically possible to put them in your ear alone, but it will generally be easier with some help. It’s usually necessary to tilt the head so that the substance can drain down into the blockage, and in most cases, you will have to hold that position for a significant period. The ear drops need a certain amount of time to do their work.

In many situations, the drops won’t be enough on their own to clear up the ear wax blockage. In those situations, the most recommended course of action is to use a syringe filled with water to perform irrigation therapy. This would generally be used immediately after applying the drops for best effect. In a typical situation, you will probably have to wash out the ear several times with the syringe to get the result you’re after.

Sometimes, people will follow this same routine but use something like glycerin or mineral oil instead of ear drops. Sometimes they may also use irrigation alone, without bothering with ear drops. The use of mineral oil and other substances isn’t necessarily approved for use in the ear canal, so you may want to consider that before trying this option.

Ear wax blockage is a relatively common issue. Once a person develops a problem with ear wax, he is generally likely to have repeated problems, especially if the difficulty was caused by some physical predisposition towards an overproduction of ear wax. Some causes of ear wax blockage are more behavioral, such as attempting to clean the ears with objects that are inserted from the outside. This can actually result in pushing ear wax deeper towards the eardrum, thereby leading to blockages.

When people develop ear wax blockage problems, they will have a variety of symptoms. For example, an ear wax blockage often causes an ear ache, and it may result in hearing problems. In some cases, people may even develop infections because of a blockage, and this can cause fevers.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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