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Ear Wax: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Ear wax is an essential part of the hearing system. The term refers to a grey or yellowish substance that is waxy to the touch. This substance is present within the ear canal and is important because it not only helps with the lubrication within the ear but also because it helps keep bacteria, fungi, water, and insects at bay. Therefore, the substance itself is not a problem when it comes to your health. However, excess of ear wax can lead to problems, and this is when it needs to be treated.

Having large amounts of ear wax in the ear canal can cause problems with hearing and even lead to an acute loss of the same. Therefore, it is important to get the problem treated so that you can hear as clearly as you did before.

There are effective treatments for ear wax. You will either be given softeners which will allow the hardened wax to become pliable and easily removable or will be asked to go through a cleaning procedure with an ENT. In this procedure, a sterilized instrument shaped like a scoop will be used to scoop out the excess ear wax and clean out your ears.

How is the treatment done?

The first step to getting the treatment done is to go and visit an ENT. The ENT will have a look inside your ear to see what the problem is and all that is needed for the diagnosis. There are no specific tests as this is something that can be confirmed visually. Once it is confirmed that your loss of hearing is because of too much ear wax, then the treatment can begin.

If there is hardened ear wax in your ear that cannot be removed without causing pain or injury, then the first step is to start with a softener. The softener can be anything like olive oil or castor oil. It will be administered with a dropper and put inside your ear so that the wax begins to get wet and get softer. Once that is achieved, it can be removed. Another way to administer the treatment is to simply scoop out the additional wax with the help of an instrument that is shaped like a scoop. It cleans out the entire ear and helps restore the hearing perfectly. Sometimes, additional items such as gauze will be used to clean the ears along with an antiseptic to ensure that no infection occurs. The procedure is generally painless though a little discomfort can be expected as the cleaning occurs.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

If you are experiencing the loss of hearing or feeling as though your ear is congested or stuffed, then you can visit an ENT and seek the treatment for excess ear wax.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If you have an ear infection or are suffering from other medical conditions related to your ears, then you may not be eligible for the treatment. It all depends on what your doctor says about your problem.

Are there any side effects?

There are no side effects to getting your ears cleaned. However, using an unsterilized instrument to clean the ear may cause infections. Furthermore, cleaning the ear harshly or without softening can lead to injury and pain.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are no post treatment guidelines. Ear wax is natural and is a part of your system. Though you can get regular check-ups with your ENT to prevent a large scale build-up of ear wax.

How long does it take to recover?

The procedure to clean your ear can take anywhere between 15 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on whether the wax first needs to be softened or not. The recovery is immediate and your hearing will be restored immediately.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Getting your ears cleaned can cause anywhere between Rs. 200 – Rs. 1,000, depending on where you get the treatment from.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Since the building up of ear wax is natural, you can expect the condition to return if you do not clean your ears on a regular basis.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There is no alternative to the treatment. Using Q tips at home should be strictly avoided as they pack the wax further within the ear into a tighter mass, rather than helping you clean it all. They are very bad for you and should not be used.

Safety: High Effectiveness: High Timeliness: High Relative Risk: Low Side Effects: Low Time For Recovery: High Price Range:

Popular Health Tips

Tinnitus - How Can Audiologist Treat It?

M.Sc - Audiology, BASLP
Audiologist, Delhi
Tinnitus - How Can Audiologist Treat It?

For someone suffering from Tinnitus, a perpetual sense of ringing in the ears is the main complaint. It’s annoying, to say the least. But more importantly, it is a sign of hearing loss. This is why people need to see an audiologist if he/she has a sense of tinnitus for some time. An audiologist can treat this problem in different ways.

Diagnosis

The first step in treating tinnitus like any other disease involves determining the cause. The doctor may perform different tests such as-Hearing:

  • Hearing exam

During this test, one needs to sit in a soundproof room and wear earphones. Specific sounds will be played into the ears, one at a time, through these earphones. People have to indicate when they hear different intensities of sound. The results are compared with empirical results for comparable age. This helps the audiologist identify possible or rule out specific causes.

  • Movement

One may need to clench the jaw, move the eyes or neck, or even move the arms and legs as part of the test. If tinnitus symptoms get better or worse at any of these postures, the audiologist can identify the underlying disorder.

  • Imaging Tests

The doctor may suggest an MRI or CT depending on his suspicions.

TreatmentRetraining

 Treatment involves identifying an underlying problem, if any. If the tinnitus symptoms are due to some health conditions, the audiologist may take the following steps:

  • Clearing the Earwax

Impacted earwax can cause a variety of problems, including tinnitus symptoms. An audiologist can remove the ear wax.

  • Treating Vascular Conditions

Underlying vascular problems that require surgery or any other treatment may treat the condition.

  • Changing Medication

Tinnitus can also be a side effect of medication. If the doctor suspects that he may recommend reducing or stopping the drug completely. He may also recommend a different medication.

Noise Suppression

If there is no underlying health condition or medication responsible for tinnitus, the doctor may take recourse to noise suppression.  The patient may need to wear an electronic noise suppression device. These devices include:

  • White Noise Devices

These machines produce simulated sounds such as those of ocean waves, falling rain etc. This is often found to be effective in treating tinnitus. He may also recommend using pillow speakers, fans, dehumidifiers, air conditioners and humidifiers to suppress internal noise at night.

  • Hearing Aids

If a hearing problem is associated with tinnitus, the audiologist may prescribe hearing aid.

  • Masking Devices

Such devices mask the internal sounds of tinnitus and are worn in the ear in a similar fashion as hearing aids.

  • Retraining

This device delivers programmed music to mask the sound of tinnitus. This technique usually helps the patient get accustomed to the sound of tinnitus.

 Depending on diagnosis and findings, audiologists may also recommend medicines. Audiologists use medicines usually for severe tinnitus only, since these may have side effects. It may also help reduce symptoms.

 

4168 people found this helpful

Outer Ear Infections - Tips To Deal With Them!

MS - ENT, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
ENT Specialist, Ghaziabad
Outer Ear Infections - Tips To Deal With Them!

Outer ear infections can be caused by bacteria, virus, or yeast. Also known as swimmer’s ear, as it is very common in swimmers who keep their ears immersed in water for prolonged periods of time. It can also occur when the skin in the outer ear gets infected due to regular use of cotton buds to remove wax. Though it is very common in children, it can be seen in adults too.

The first step in managing an outer ear infection is to identify it.

  • A dull, nagging pain in the outer ear is one of the first symptoms of an outer ear infection. Worsening of the pain when the ear is pressed is confirmatory of the infection. In some people, the pain could even spread to the rest of face, along with the cheeks or down the neck.
  • Foul-smelling, yellow or green drainage is an indication of outer ear infection. The person could feel that the ear is constantly moist.
  • This can be along the ear canal or in the outer ear skin.
  • Mild hearing loss, which if untreated, can be progressive.
  • Redness of the skin around the ear(s).
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes at the base of the jaw.
  • General symptoms of an infection including fever, lethargy, reduced energy levels, and overall tiredness.

Management:

Do not treat ear infections on your own. The actual agent causing the infection needs to be identified and treated accordingly. A bacterial infection may require a course of antibiotics, a viral one should be watched and allowed to run its course.

 

  1. Visit a doctor: They will check and confirm the infection.
  2. Ear cleaning: Cleaning the ear with either a suction or a curette. In some cases, there could be hardened wax which needs to be removed to get relief from the infection.
  3. Antibiotic drops: Either neomycin or ciprofloxacin is used in most cases.
  4. Acetic acid drops: This helps in keeping the bacterial population intact in your ears.
  5. Antibiotics: In severe cases, oral antibiotics may be required. Painkillers like ibuprofen may be also taken if the pain is unbearable.
  6. Saltwater: A home-made solution of vinegar and water or diluted saltwater provides great relief from ear infection symptoms.
  7. Heat pads: A warm, wet cloth applied on the cheek near the ear can provide great relief. It is advisable to sit when the heat pad is being applied to avoid burns.
  8. Preventative ear drops: When going for swimming long duration, OTC ear drops can be applied to provide relief.
  9. Avoid swimming: When the infection has set in and you begin to notice symptoms, avoid swimming for a few days.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2704 people found this helpful

Swimmer's Ear - What Causes It?

MS - ENT, MBBS
ENT Specialist, Delhi
Swimmer's Ear - What Causes It?

Swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal, the passage that carries sounds from the outside of the body to the eardrum. It can be caused by many different types of bacteria or fungi.

Swimmer’s ear is a kind of infection which occurs in the outer ear canal and it results in an infected ear canal, long-term pain and irritation. Swimmer’s ear, as you can understand by the name, is referred in such a way because it is caused by water which is left inside the ear after swimming. The stuck water inside the canal gets damp where bacteria and fungus grows and results in an infection. Now we will discuss what are the causes that can bring such a condition.

Causes of Swimmer’s Ear - There are many reasons because of which people suffer from a swimmer’s ear: The entry of too much water inside the ear canal, leaves a part of it inside the ear which eventually allows bacteria to infest. The overcleaning of the ear canal with cotton buds causes the ear wax to come out which allows water to enter. When cosmetic chemicals like hair spray, enter the ears, it causes a sensitive chemical reaction which can lead to infection. Careless scratching inside the ear can result in small cuts inside the sensitive canal, where bacteria can infest. Swimming in water without covering your ears can also cause this.

So next time when you are swimming or scratching your ear without safety, remember that it can cause a swimmer’s ear. But you may have a question in mind, how will I know if I am suffering from this? We have thus listed the symptoms as well.

Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear-

Constant itching and irritation inside the ear. The pain or itching increases when you pull your year or chew something. There is an acute sensation of blockage inside the ear which is caused because of this condition and results in reduced levels of hearing. Someone suffering from swimmer's ear will have pus or ear fluids draining out from their ears.

Swimmer’s ear condition can be easily prevented if you follow some simple but very effective steps like blocking your ear with buds while swimming, cleaning the ear softly so that no water remains stuck etc. If you neglect any of the symptoms, they can result in a very chronic disease which can even result in hearing loss. So read through our article and understand what Swimmer’s ear is.

2987 people found this helpful

Discharge From Ear - Why You Must Consult A Doctor Urgently?

MS-ENT, MBBS
ENT Specialist, Noida
Discharge From Ear - Why You Must Consult A Doctor Urgently?

Ear discharge is a common problem. The medical term that refers to this condition is otorrhea. The reason behind ear discharge could be multiple. The discomfort is caused due to a number of factors, including bacterial infection, head injuries and excessive ear wax. There are various kinds of drainage, like blood, milky white fluid or wax. It can be noted that drainage of earwax yellow to orange or brown in colour is not a health issue. Other types of ear drainage need treatment or medical attention, depending on the severity of the situation.

Drainage due to ruptured ear drum: In some cases, it is found that there is drainage due to rupturing of the ear drum. It can be remembered that the rupturing of ear drum is not a medical emergency. The drainage, in this case, is clear. It may be mixed with blood or fully bloody. Symptoms in this case range from ear-ringing, intense ear pain, hearing loss to drainage. Eardrum can get ruptured due to the following reasons:

  • Middle ear infections
  • Barotraumas
  • Loud noises
  • Trauma

You will have to remember that this is not an emergency case. The rupture gets repaired or healed naturally. However, if the problem worsens it is best to see a doctor. For healing the rupture, doctors may undertake a tympanoplasty. The doctor might also ask you to try a solution of  1% topical sodium hyaluronate.

Ear drainage due to excessive ear wax: This is a normal condition. It doesn’t usually require medical intervention. However, if the blockage of wax is not removed by natural means or simple cleaning using cotton swabs, oil or hydrogen peroxide, take help from a doctor.
Ear drainage due to infection: If you have been infected by a foreign invader like bacteria, you are likely to notice milky white fluid oozing out of your ear. The infection can be accompanied by fever and pain in the ear. The odour of the discharge is offensive.
Ear drainage due to head injuries: This is dangerous of all other drainage condition. It needs immediate medical intervention. The drainage is definitely bloody in nature. A Large amount of the drainage may contain the cerebral spinal fluid.

Reasons to seek immediate help from your doctor
1. Unbearable pain
2. High fever
3. Blow to the head/skull
4. Sudden loss of hearing
5. Injury caused by a sharp object, leading to drainage bloody in nature.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3905 people found this helpful

Presence Of Foreign Bodies In Ear/Nose/Throat - How It Can Be Managed?

MS - ENT, MBBS
ENT Specialist, Delhi
Presence Of Foreign Bodies In Ear/Nose/Throat - How It Can Be Managed?

What is a foreign body (FB)?
Foreign body or FB is an object or piece of extraneous matter that has entered the body by accident or design. It is common to see certain items getting stuck in the ear, nose or throat especially, in young children. While most of the time they do not raise an alarm, however, sometimes they can lead to severe consequences like rupture of the eardrum or even choking.

How do FBs affect ear, nose and throat?

  • Children over 9 months develop an ability to pick up objects. As they explore the environment around them, they tend to put items such as peas, beans, marbles, beads, cotton, paper, etc, in their mouth, nose or ears. A similar trend can be seen in adults with mental disorders.
  • Trauma/ fall/accident can force FBs like rock, pebbles into the ear, nose or throat.
  • Adults while riding a bike or sleeping on the ground (campsites) can have insects: flies, ants, roaches fly into the nose or ear.
  • Choking occurs when FBs block the airway, common reasons are: not chewing the food properly, diseases like Parkinsonism, drinking alcohol or certain drugs that slowdowns the process of swallowing.

Managing FB in the ear, nose and throat

Foreign bodies in the ear
Symptoms: Pain in the ear, discharge or bleeding from the ear, feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear and dizziness and nausea in extreme cases.

Management:

  • Make sure the patient is sitting in an upright position, pull the pinna or outer semicircle of the ear towards the back. This can help you see the object clearly and also loosen it to wiggle out. If you can see the object clearly, use a tweezer to grasp the object and gently remove.
  • In case a live insect gets trapped inside the ear lie down and place few drops of warm vegetable or baby oil. Use oil only if symptoms of eardrum perforation like pain, bleeding/discharge from the ear is absent.
  • Tilting the head to the affected side can facilitate gravity to dislodge the object.

Foreign bodies in the nose:
Symptoms: 
Pain and difficulty in breathing from that side of the nose.
Management: Keep the uninvolved nostril closed by pressing a finger against the side of the nose and gently ask the person to blow from the affected nostril.

Foreign bodies in the throat:
Symptoms: Choking, inability to breathe and speak 
Management: Perform Heimlich maneuver: abdominal thrusts, if trained otherwise, it is advised to call for medical help immediately.

How can you prevent foreign bodies from entering your ear, nose, throat?

  • Discourage talking, playing, laughing when food is in the mouth.
  • Do not give whole grapes, popcorn, nuts to children below 3 years.
  • Keep small objects out of reach of small children.
  • Teach children to avoid placing objects into their nose, ears.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3656 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

When I wake from sleep ,I have feeling of wax or liquid in my ear ,then I clean with earbud then it came greasy. This happens daily .is it normal? If not which drop I should use.

MBBS, Diploma in otorhino laryngyology
ENT Specialist, Pune
Put Soliwax ear drip 2 drops 3 times daily for 5 days avoid using ear buds after putting ear drops it will become soft so If you will visit Ent doctor doc will Remove the wax.
1 person found this helpful

I took xylomist decongestant mistakenly for 2 days now my ears are blocked what to do I would be highly obliged if any of the doctors answer this pls.

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Trivandrum
Hi lybrate-user. I hope you have used xylomist in your nose. You might be also having a nasal discharge which might have accidently entered into your ear and causes ear block problem. Usually happen when patient with nasal discharge sniffs in the discharge, it then goes into the ear through a tube connecting nose and ear. Use saline nasal drops, use steam inhalation and also antihistamine tablets at night. If you have any other symptoms then we have to deal accordingly. For more details you can always consult.
1 person found this helpful

I am a 25 year old male, my right ear has blocked for over 2 weeks, though there is no pain but I have decreased hearing and I can hear ringing sounds. I have used olive oil and cerumol and no relief.

MS otorhinolaryngology and head and neck surgery
ENT Specialist, Jaipur
Hello lybrate-user. No olive oil use won't be effective as according to your history you seem to be suffering from glue ear. You need to take nasal decongestant like xylometazolin nasal spray and tablets like levocetrizine. And see some nearby ent Dr. to get examined if any other reason is there.
2 people found this helpful

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Play video
Know More About Ear Discharge
Causes and treatment of Ear discharge
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice