Wax plug in the ear

Ear wax is usually soft and is made by glands in the outer part of the ear canal. Sometimes the wax forms a plug that clogs the ear canal, it is called a wax plug. There are things you can try to do yourself if you know you have a wax plug but sometimes treatment is needed.

Symptoms of wax plug

Common symptoms of wax plug:

  • You hear worse.
  • It feels like you have ear lids.

Sometimes it can also itch in the ear canal and hurt.

An early symptom of wax plugs is if you get a lid on your ear after showering. This is because water is then stuck between the wax plug and the eardrum.

What can I do for myself?

You who are an adult and have a wax plug can try to treat it yourself. In pharmacies there are non-prescription drugs, for example in the form of ear drops and spray. They dissolve and soften the wax plug.

Some agents are sold in packages with a rubber balloon with a spout that can be used to flush the wax from the ear. It is important that the water in the balloon is so called finger warm, otherwise you may get dizzy. Do not use the rubber balloon if your eardrum is damaged. The rubber balloon can also be purchased separately.

When and where should I seek care?

Contact a health care center if it does not help with prescription drugs. This also applies if you start to hear worse or it runs out of ear and itching.

Contact a health care center if you think your child has a wax plug, do not try non-prescription drugs first.

Investigation

At the health center you will be told about your symptoms of wax plugs. The doctor then looks into the ear with the help of an otoscope. It looks like a handle with a small funnel and lamp at the top.

Treatment of wax plug

There are several ways to remove a wax plug. For example, it can be flushed away. Then you first have to put on a plastic apron so you don’t get wet. The ear canal is then gently flushed with lukewarm water. The water that flows out is collected in a vessel. A little wax at a time comes out, but eventually everything that is left usually comes in a lump. After the treatment of the wax plug, the ear is dried.

It is often a nurse who flushes the ear after a doctor has seen that you have a wax plug and that it should be flushed out.

The doctor can also remove the wax plug with a narrow instrument that enters the ear canal or with the help of a special earmuff.

After treatment of wax plug, the doctor examines the ear again. 

What happens in the body?

Ear wax is formed by glands in the outer parts of the ear canal. The task of the wax is to keep the ear canal clean. The wax slowly drains out of the ear and takes away the garbage. Sometimes the wax becomes more difficult to drain, then a wax plug can be formed.  

Some things can make it more difficult for the wax to drain out. For example, there may be close-fitting hearing aids, earplugs, and headphones that sit in the ear canal and poke in the ear canal with cotton swabs.

In some people, the wax is also tougher and sometimes the wax becomes extra tough when there is water in the ears.

Do not poke in the ear canal, either with a finger, a towel or with cotton swabs. It can damage the ear, contribute to increased wax production and lead to inflammation of the ear canal.

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