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California Ear Institute
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Cerumen

Cerumen (Ear Wax) Removal

Cerumen is produced in the lateral ear canal and serves the purpose of protection for the vulnerable skin of the area. A small amount of cerumen is desirable to protect from fungus, bacteria and other potentially harmful organisms.

Abnormal cerumen may occur in association with systemic disease and may be a tip-off to Physicians to look further for other disorders. In some patients, a skin disorder of the outer ear canal needs treatment to decrease the amount of cerumen produced as a means of treatment. Patients who wear hearing devices require special attention to cerumen management as their device may stimulate wax production while displacing it deep into the ear canal.

Many patients make large volume of difficult to remove ear wax that can be difficult to treat and can cause hearing loss, recurrent infections, or ear canal damage. Cotton swabs should be avoided as cerumen is frequently packed into the ear canal creating hearing loss and damage. Some Physician’s offices clean ears with water irrigation. Improperly applied this can lead to eardrum injury and hearing loss and should never be used when a perforation or abnormality of the eardrum is present. Removal of cerumen under a binocular operating microscope (available in all CEI clinic rooms) remains the safest and most comfortable way to deal with the issue.

 

 

 

 


 
California Ear Institute