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Clogged Ear and Ear Wax

By HERWriter
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Ear Wax Buildup related image Photo: Getty Images

While flying back from San Francisco, I heard a pop-pop in my right ear.

The week before I was having hearing issues in my right ear. All the noises directed to my right ear sounded muffled and I had a slight pressure inside my ear.

After the SFO flight, I fell asleep and heard another pop-pop.

In the shower the next morning, I felt dizzy, queasy and was suffering from vertigo. I told my husband about the incident and he recommended I call the allergist as my allergies began to flare up when we returned home from San Francisco.

My husband thought I might be suffering from a sinus infection due to allergies.

In my appointment with the allergist, he stated he could not see my ear drum. I was concerned because my late father had a serious history of ear issues. He visited the ear-nose-throat doctor more often than his regular doctor.

Needless to say, my allergist removed a small science experiment from my right ear. I was certain he was going to charge me extra for the removal of excessive ear wax.

The ear wax was pushing up against my ear drum and inner ear which was possibly causing me to be wobbly, hence the vertigo and dizziness.

The science experiment which the allergist removed from my ear is known as cerumen (pronounced: suh-roo-mun) impaction. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology website, symptoms of excessive ear wax build up or cerumen impaction include:

• Partial hearing loss, which may be progressive
• Earache
• A sensation that feels like the ear is plugged
• Itching
• Fullness in the ear
• Coughing
• Tinnitus, ringing, or noises in the ear
• Odor
• Discharge

Remember, your ear wax protects your ear from ear infections and outdoor elements (dirt, dust, etc.). Ear wax naturally removes itself by the chewing motion of your jaw. This causes the wax to flake and fall away.

The key thing is to soften the wax. Using extreme hot or cold water may cause dizziness.

Here are some home remedies you can use to remove your ear wax:

• Purchase an over-the-counter ear wax removal product (approximately $10).
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Baby oil
• Carbamide peroxide
• Mineral oil
• Glycerin

Turn your head to the side and add two to five drops in your clogged ear. Stay on your side for 10-15 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if you hear some slight noises in your ear. With hydrogen peroxide or an over-the-counter ear wax removal product, you may actually hear some bubbling.

Your ear wax will soften, naturally flake and fall out.

Here are some important things to remember when removing ear wax from your ear.

• If you have an concerns that the problem you are having is not earwax, e.g., ear pain, a temperature, sinus problems, then see a doctor first.

• DO NOT insert anything in your ear to remove the wax. This will push the wax further into your ear and possibly cause it to impact in your ear canal. Also, you can puncture your ear drum with a sharp instrument.

• DO NOT use anything sharp like a pencil, bobby-pin, candle wax or a cotton swab to clean your ear.

Removing ear wax is not instant. Depending on the amount of ear wax you produce, you may have to repeat several times until the ear wax completely softens.

Within 24 hours, you should feel some relief of your symptoms. However, if you are having difficulty, contact your health care professional to schedule an appointment to remove your excess earwax.


Earwax. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from

Wax blockage - PubMed Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001974/#adam_000979.disease.treatment

What's Earwax? KidsHealth - the Web's most visited site about children's health. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/yucky/earwax.html

Reviewed February 20, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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