What is cerumen impaction?
Cerumen impaction is trapping of ear wax in the ears. If this is severe, it can cause hearing loss. Occasionally, cerumen impactions can lead to ear infections with bacteria or fungus growth.
What are the symptoms of cerumen impaction?
If mild, no symptoms may be present. Most commonly, cerumen impaction leads to a “plugged up” feeling in the ears. If severe, it can cause hearing loss, ringing in the ears, pain, and occasionally, dizziness.
What causes cerumen impaction?
Some people are more prone to impactions than others, either because they produce more wax or have small ear canals that trap the wax. Using cotton swabs can make this problem worse by pushing the wax further into the ear canal.
How is cerumen impaction diagnosed?
An exam with an otoscope (lighted instrument used to look in the ear) will reveal whether ear wax is present.
What is the treatment of cerumen impaction?
Removal of the wax usually causes immediate relief. There are a variety of ways to do this, including sucking out the wax with a vacuum, removing it with a loop, and flushing it out. These should be done by a medical professional, since injury to the ear canal and ear drum can result if not done properly. Ear candling is not recommended for removal of wax, since this can lead to burns.