New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
Adjust: Text Size Make Font Smaller Make Font Larger Print this Page: Normal Print Friendly Large Print Friendly Accessibility Info
Earwax Blockage

View a Video Animation about Ear Wax

In order to view the content, you must install the Adobe Flash Player. Please click here to get started.

What is an earwax blockage?

Everyone produces some earwax. The medical term for earwax is "cerumen." It is produced in the glands in the skin in the outer portion of the ear canal. The function of the wax is to trap foreign particles from entering the inner ear.

Improper cleaning of the ear can very often push the ear wax further into the ear canal causing a blockage. Heat and humidity can also be responsible for causing the coating to collapse and fill in the ear canal.

What are the symptoms of an ear blockage?

A person with an earwax blockage may complain of "fullness" in the ear or their hearing may be muffled because sound waves cannot pass through to the eardrum. These symptoms may feel worse after showering or swimming.

How do you treat an earwax blockage?

First, be sure that there is no possibility that the eardrum has been ruptured. Introducing water or any other liquid to an ear that has a perforated or ruptured eardrum could cause further hearing loss and damage. If you have this condition, an Otolaryngologist should remove the blockage. However, if there is no ruptured eardrum, than earwax can be flushed out at home. Earwax removal kits are sold over the counter and contain bulb syringes and usually some drops to dissolve the wax. Warm water can be used for softer wax. If you are unable to remove the wax at home, or if there is any blood or puss in the drainage, or there is pain associated with the blockage, you should contact your doctor.

Find a Doctor

About NYEE Services

Locate a physician affiliated with New York Eye and Ear Infirmary according to specialty and/or location

Find out how to schedule an appointment with one of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary's General Care Centers