What are the symptoms of an earwax plug?

Feeling of pressure, humming, deafness and dizziness can be symptomatic of a cerumen plug* or as more commonly known an earwax plug. Caused by a build-up of cerumen at the bottom of the ear canal, they may form for various reasons. To get rid of them gently, ask the advice of your pharmacist or your ENT specialist. Cleaning your ears regularly is the best way to avoid this problem.

My ears are hurting, my ear feels blocked, my hearing's impaired- what's the matter with me? What is an ear plug? What are the symptoms? How can I get rid of it? Here are the answers to all your questions, lend us your ear! 

Cerumen plugs: the symptoms that should alert you! 

An ear problem can manifest itself through a variety of unpleasant sensations.

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

These problems can be symptomatic of various ear disorders , including cerumen plugs.

What is a cerumen plug? 

A cerumen plug , more commonly known as an ear plug or a wax plug, is the result of an abnormal build-up of cerumen in the ear canal. Little by little, a compact mass is formed, obstructing the ear.

Although there is a certain genetic predisposition to cerumen plug build-up , anybody can be affected by this disorder. There are various reasons for an excessive quantity of cerumen:

  • A tendency to produce cerumen in higher quantities than normal;
  • Difficulties in its natural evacuation due to a narrow ear canal or presence of hairs in it;
  • Using cotton buds, which push the wax to further into the canal;
  • Using headphones...

Wax plug: why is it painful? 

Nestled at the bottom of the ear canal, it can exert pressure on the eardrum, which is an extremely sensitive membrane. This pressure can also be felt by the inner ear, which is needed for balance, thus causing dizziness.

The cerumen plug is the primary cause of deafness*: when the ear canal is obstructed, sound waves have more difficulty reaching the eardrum. This impairs hearing. The transmission of sound towards the inner ear is disrupted: for this reason, a cerumen plug can cause humming, whistling, or tinnitus.

What can I do to remove a wax plug?

Among the various ways of treating a wax plug , use of an appropriate aqueous solution may be recommended; it's a gentle treatment. To choose the right cerumen plug treatment product , consult your pharmacist or your ENT specialist.

How do I prevent wax plugs? 

Preventing a wax plug forming , requires regular ear cleansing. Except in specific situations, it is recommended to clean your ears about twice a week with an aqueous solution.

Using cotton buds is not recommended as they can push the cerumen inside the ear canal*.


*Scientific source: Doctor Pierre Drweski, ENT specialist.