How do I prevent ear wax blockages?
Caused by an excess accumulation of earwax in the outer ear canal, an earwax blockage (also called earwax build-up or cerumen impaction) is a painful condition. Earwax blockages can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as dust, noise, in-ear headphones, cotton buds, contact with water, or a natural predisposition. To effectively prevent it, adopting a regular ear hygiene routine is recommended.*
What is an earwax blockage?
An earwax blockage, also called a cerumen impaction or earwax build-up, is the result of an excessive accumulation of earwax within the outer ear canal.
Reduced hearing, a feeling of fullness or of pressure in the ear, pain, itching... although generally benign, an earwax blockage can be quite unpleasant.*
To prevent earwax blockages, you need to know what causes them.
In the event of excess earwax production or if wax does not move out of the ear, a compacted mass can form deep inside the ear canal and cause an obstruction.
What leads to the formation of an earwax blockage?
- Frequent use of cotton buds, hearing aids or in-ear headphones can lead to excess production of earwax, resulting in a blockage.
- Frequent exposure to dust, pollution or a noisy environment are also potential factors when it comes to excess earwax production, which increases as the ear tries to protect itself.
- Certain factors can make earwax expand, such as air pressure when flying or contact with water when swimming or bathing.
- Using cotton buds packs wax deeper into the ear canal, leading to the formation of a blockage**.
It’s also worth remembering that some people simply produce more earwax. Finally, hairs in the ear canal or a narrow ear canal can make it harder for earwax to move out of the ear.
Prevention: what's the best way of preventing earwax blockages?
As well as the factors we’ve just mentioned, to prevent ear blockages, we recommend adopting a regular ear hygiene routine! Developing the habit of cleaning your ears properly 2 or 3 times a week removes excess earwax and regulates the amount present in the ear canal.
Warning: in case of ear disorders (perforated eardrum, otitis, etc.), consult your pharmacist or ENT before using an ear cleaning product.
What's the best way of treating an earwax blockage?
Except in certain cases requiring a medical consultation, removing an earwax blockage can be done at home using a gentle ear solution available at pharmacies.
If symptoms persist, please consult your doctor.
What treatment do I choose to unblock my ear?
*Justin O. Sevy ; Anumeha Singh. Cerumen Impaction. 2017
**Définition, causes et symptômes du bouchon de cérumen. 2019. https://www.ameli.fr