Earwax (cerumen) is a natural part of the body’s defence as it protects the ear from dust, bacteria, foreign particles and irritation due to water. It is a yellowish, sticky material produced by a sebaceous gland. 

Typically, earwax finds its way out of the ear and is washed away naturally. And a new wax takes its place. But Sometimes, due to production of hard or sticky wax, narrow ear canal and hair, ear canal, it is not cleaned naturally. This leads to ear blockage, which can interfere with hearing ability and lead to other conditions. 


  • Itchiness in or around the ear
  • Pain in the ear
  • Ringing or noises in the ear
  • Ear infections
  • A spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Earache
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness
  • Cough
  • Discharge or odour coming from the ear
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear


The problem usually occurs when earwax gets pushed deep inside the ear canal. This happens when people try to remove their wax at home using cotton swabs or bobby pins, which sometimes push the wax deep inside the ear. Experts say using hearing aids and earplugs can also lead to earwax blockage. 


If the earwax buildup is not removed carefully and correctly on time, it can sometimes lead to:

  • Perforated ear drum
  • Middle-ear infection
  • Hearing loss
  • External ear infection (swimmer’s ear)

Exams & Tests

The doctor begins the diagnosis by asking you about your symptoms and then seeing inside your ears using an otoscope.


If you feel blocked ear / itchy ear - take expert opinion. Never try to clean ear on its own

If your ear becomes more irritated or you’re unable to clear the ear wax, seek medical treatment. The doctor may use a combination of methods to remove the earwax. He may:

  • Remove the earwax through a gentle suction. 
  • Irrigate the ear with an ear drop to flush the wax out.
  • Use an instrument to remove the wax.


Earwax is a natural part of ear health. But sometimes, it leads to earwax buildup, which can irritate your ear and lead to several other conditions. You should avoid using any object to remove the earwax that pushes the wax deep inside the ear. If you have excess earwax buildup that is not coming out on its own, you should take help from a healthcare provider.

Also, Read: How to Prevent Winter Sinus Problems?

with Dr. Abhinit Kumar


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