WAX IN THE EAR

An accumulation of wax in the external ear. Wax in the ear is normal and usually comes out naturally from time to time. It may accumulate to form a wax plug and cause a problem for the patient.

Causes

  • Excessive and/or thick wax production
  • Small, tortuous and/or hairy ear canal
  • Use of ear pads

Clinical features

  • Blocked ears
  • Buzzing sound
  • Sometimes mild pain

MANAGEMENT

General measures

  • Soften the wax by inserting drops of Vegetable oil or Glycerine or Sodium bicarbonate into the
    ear 3 times a day for a few days. After this the wax may fall out on its own
  • Syringe the ear carefully with clean warm water when the wax is soft
Caution
  • Advise the patient not to poke anything into the ear in an attempt to clean it, as this may damage the eardrums
  • Do not syringe if (a) there is history of discharge and (b) if there is pain