Signs and Symptoms
1. Blocked or plugged feeling in ear.
2. Ringing in the ear.
3. Ear pain or discomfort.
4. Temporary, partial hearing loss.
What to do now
Adults can try the following remedies:
1. Over-the-counter liquid earwax softeners can help to loosen earwax. But don’t use wax softeners if you suspect you have an ear infection or eardrum rupture.
2. Add one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to an equal amount of warm water. Use a soft rubber bulb syringe to dislodge wax by gently rinsing the ear canal with warm water or a mixture of warm water and hydrogen peroxide. Don’t do this if you have an earache, fever, discharge from your ear, or a perforated eardrum, or if you’ve recently and ear surgery. (Never attempt to remove earwax with a cotton-tipped stick or swab. You can damage your eardrum or cause an infection.)
3. Tilt your head, and put a dropperful of the warmed liquid into your blocked ear. Leave it there for three minutes, keeping your head tilted. Let the liquid run out onto a towel or tissue. The wax should be soft enough to be wiped away from the outer ear with a cotton ball. Repeat if necessary.
4. If the wax is particularly stubborn, soften it up beforehand with three or four drops of castor oil glycerin. You may need to do this several times.
When to call a doctor
Call for an immediate appointment:
1. If you have a sudden or total hearing loss in one or both ears.
2. If your ear secretes pus, fluid, or blood. This indicates an ear infection or a perforated eardrum.
3. If the wax becomes so firmly lodged that home care doesn’t work. You may need to have a doctor clean the ear.
4. If your infant or young child has an earwax blockage. Don’t try to remove the wax yourself.
How to prevent it
1. Try wearing earplugs if you work in dusty conditions, which can trigger wax buildup.
2. Don’t let your child push objects into the ear canal. This can pack the wax in.