How can I remove an earwax plug?

Two key points must be remembered if you have a wax plug: don't try to remove it yourself with an object and avoid any liquid solution in the ear canal if you have a perforated eardrum or an ear infection. Apart from these precautions, cerumenolytic and cerumen-dispersant ear cleansing solutions are recommended for removing a plug gently. If the obstruction proves too big, you are strongly advised to have it removed by a doctor or specialist. Ear cleansing solutions are still recommended to be used beforehand as they facilitate the plug's extraction.

The wax plug is a frequent ear disorder. Formed following an abnormal build-up of cerumen at the bottom of the outer ear canal, it causes a number of unpleasant sensations: pain, impaired hearing, dizziness... Is there a way of getting rid of it at home, gently? When must i see a doctor? 

Cerumen plug: what are the symptoms? 

Among the various ear disorders , the most common is the cerumen plug. Also called a wax plug or ear plug, it can manifest itself through the following symptoms:

  • Impaired hearing;
  • A sensation of blocking and pressure in the ear;
  • Irritation, itching or pain in the ear canal;
  • Humming or dizziness...

How is a wax plug formed? 

The ears produce cerumen , a fatty substance whose role is to provide the outer ear canal and the eardrum with protection against bacteria. Although cerumen is useful for our health, it can nevertheless be harmful when its quantity is not regulated. In the event of abnormal build-up in the canal, a cerumen plug can form and cause the symptoms mentioned above.

Overproduction of cerumen or difficulty evacuating the ear naturally, there are several different reasons for the formation of a cerumen plug.

Removing a cerumen plug: the different methods 

First and foremost, it is strongly advised against trying to remove the cerumen plug yourself with any type of object, whether this be a cotton bud or any other makeshift tool.

Removing a cerumen plug with an ear cleansing solution 

NB! If you have an ear infection or a perforated eardrum, using an ear treatment solution is not recommended.

Except in specific situations, it can be treated at home, gently. Appropriate ear cleansing solutions are available. Available at your chemist's, they can remove a cerumen plug. For an effective treatment, choose aqueous solutions containing well-tolerated surfactants that separate the components of the cerumen and dissolve its fragments.

The action of these surfactants on the wax plug will cause an emulsion, which will then be naturally evacuated to the outer ear canal.

Note that in certain cases where the obstruction is too big, treatment with an appropriate ear cleansing solution may be insufficient. It is then advised to have it extracted by a specialist. Nevertheless, you will not have used this solution for nothing: it will have reduced or at least softened the cerumen plug, which will facilitate the extraction the doctor will perform.

The extraction of the cerumen plug performed by a doctor 

Despite using a suitable ear cleansing solution, the symptoms are still there… Don't wait: make an appointment with your GP so that he can rid you of your wax plug.

How will that happen? The doctor will carry out a mechanical intervention. Depending on the size of the obstruction, different techniques are available: irrigation, curettage, aspiration...

Don't forget that cerumenolytic and cerumen-dispersant ear cleansing solutions are useful for preparing for this operation and for facilitating the extraction of the wax plug.

Consult your pharmacist, your doctor or your ENT specialist.

Wax plug: how can I prevent it from forming? 

What is the first thing to do to prevent the formation of a cerumen plug? Adopt a regular ear cleansing routine. Cleaning your ears twice a week with an appropriate solution regulates the amount of cerumen in the outer ear canal and thus prevents it building up.

Stopping using cotton buds is also recommended in order to prevent wax plugs forming, as they contribute to the build-up of cerumen at the bottom of the ear canal.

To clean your ears properly, choose an aqueous solution, ideally based on sea water: its benefits for the body are numerous. Did you know sea salt has cerumenolytic properties?

Help me choose the most suitable ear cleansing product!