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Massachusetts Eye and Ear
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Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Earwax Build Up and Blockage

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Earwax is a substance made in the ear canal by modified sweat glands to clean and protect your ears from foreign debris. Sometimes, earwax can build up in your ear and cause issues such as hearing loss and irritation.

Expert Chats

Why Earwax Should Be Left Alone

The sticky substance found in your ears — known as cerumen or “earwax” — can be a nuisance at times. However, it plays an important role in keeping your ears clean and healthy.

Learn more about properly handling earwax

6Common Symptoms

  • Hearing loss
  • Irritation such as itchiness
  • Ear pain
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Coughing

Diagnosis and Treatment

Since our ears self-clean, most people should not have to worry about cleaning their ears or removing their earwax. However, if you believe your ears have become blocked from too much wax, cleaning yours ears may be appropriate.

For safest removal, it is best to see a specialist, although over-the-counter eardrops, hydrogen peroxide, baby oil, or mineral oil may help soften the wax and encourage it to fall out of the ear on its own.

A diagnosis will be made with a visual exam using an otoscope. If the build up warrants removal, your doctor will use special instruments to manually remove it.

Meet Our Team

Our Hearing and Balanceteam is comprised of some of the world’s finest ear surgeons, skull base surgeons, balance disorder specialists and audiologists.

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