Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Impacted Cerumen Home Care

Home care for cerumen impaction includes:

  • Ear wax removal kit
  • Ear drops that dissolve earwax
  • Bulb syringe:
    • For irrigating the ear

To remove earwax:
  • You may irrigate the ear with a rubber bulb syringe from an ear wax removal kit.
  • Nonprescription eardrops soften and dissolve ear wax. Use the eardrops one hour before irrigating the ear with a bulb syringe.
  • Keep your head upright while you irrigate the ear. Grasp the external ear and gently pull upward and back.
  • Using the bulb syringe, gently direct a stream of lukewarm water into the ear canal. Tip the head and allow the water to drain from the ear. Do not suction the ear canal; this can cause damage to the eardrum. Stop the procedure and see your doctor if you have pain during irrigation. Do not use a water jet irrigator such as a Waterpik.
  • If unsuccessful, use the eardrops again. Wait 20 to 30 minutes before irrigating the ear again.
  • After the wax is removed, dry the ear with a towel.

  • Never irrigate your ear if you have an earache.
  • Never irrigate water into the ear if there is a hole in the eardrum or tubes in the ears.
  • Clean the ears with a washcloth only: do not put cotton swabs into the ear canal.

Impacted Cerumen Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have cerumen impaction and any of the following:

Continue to Impacted Cerumen Outlook

Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Impacted Cerumen References
  1. Kelly KE, Mohs DC. The external auditory canal. Anatomy and physiology. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 1996 Oct;29(5):725-39. [8893213]
  2. Yueh B, Shapiro N, MacLean CH, Shekelle PG. Screening and management of adult hearing loss in primary care: scientific review. JAMA. 2003 Apr 16;289(15):1976-85. [1269780]
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