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Cerumen Impaction or Impacted Ear Wax : Safe Removal of Ear Wax

Have you come across the quote from William Shakespeare, “He has not as much brain as ear wax” ? Impacted ear wax, a condition where there is a heavy accumulation of the ear wax or Cerumen in the ear canal can be irritating when they start showing various symptoms that require a doctor visit. It is essential to keep the ears clean so as to stay away from the harmful effects of the cerumen impaction or impacted ear wax. However it must also be checked to have a safe removal of ear wax so as to keep safe the eardrum and avoid any unnecessary complications. In this current article we will know more about Cerumen Impaction or Impacted Ear Wax and some of the best ways to removal the ear wax safely.

Cerumen Impaction or Impacted Ear Wax

What Is Ear Wax And Can They Be Helpful?

Ear wax is a natural substance occurring in the ear, produced from the outer one third portion of the ear canal that acts as a lubricant for the ear canal or the ear as a whole and protects the ear from the external agents including the bacteria. Thus, ear wax is healthy when present in normal amount as its absence can create dry and itchy ears.

What Happens In Cerumen Impaction or Impacted Ear Wax?

It is true that ear wax in normal amount is beneficial for the ear because of its antibacterial, lubricating and protective properties. However, as the saying from Charles Churchill goes, “The best things carried to excess are wrong.” When there is an excessive accumulation of the ear wax in the ear canal it starts showing various symptoms that might compel a person to undergo a doctor’s treatment.

Some of the noted symptoms of cerumen impaction or the impacted ear wax include the following:

  • A sensation like the ear is plugged
  • Severe ear pain and a sense of fullness in ear
  • Improper hearing
  • Ringing ears or tinnitus.
  • Itching in ear, ear discharge etc
  • Coughing.

When Is It Essential To Clean The Ear Or Remove The Ear Wax In Cerumen Impaction?

Ear wax or the Cerumen are present in the ear canals are usually the self-cleansing agents and mostly gets cleaned of their own with the continuous jaw movements while chewing or talking. The ear wax gets migrated from the ear/auditory canal to the opening of the ear automatically. In the ear opening the ear wax gets dried, turn into flakes and fall out.

Now, though it is known that mostly it does not require one to clean ear wax when present in normal level. However, when it gets accumulated in the ear canal and starts producing the harmful symptoms it is necessary to take a strict step in removing the ear wax present in excess. It must be noted that safe removal of ear wax in the condition of Cerumen impaction is highly essential for keeping safety in one of the most sensitive part of our body. We will know about the safe removal of ear wax in the following section of the article.

Safe Removal of Ear Wax:

It is already explained that ear wax is produced in the outer one third of the ear canal and not anywhere deeper in the eardrum. So, if you are suffering from an ear wax blockage in the eardrum then it might probably be because you have been probing the ear with bobby pins or cotton tipped applicators in order to clean the wax and meanwhile pushing the wax deeper to the eardrum.

It is needed to maintain safety while cleaning the ear or removing the ear wax in the cerumen impaction condition. Usually most of the times this can be done at home with the most natural ways when followed in a proper manner. Here below are some of the most effective ways to remove ear wax in the safest way without any complications.

Best Ways To Treat Cerumen Impaction or Impacted Ear Wax:

Make a note to wash the external ear with a cloth and not insert anything into the ear canal while cleaning the ears. Here below are some of the natural ways you can treat cerumen impaction at home.

  • Pouring Glycerine Or Baby Oil Into The Ears: Ear wax can be softened by pouring glycerine or baby oil into the ear and covering the ear opening with the help of a cotton plug so that the oil does not ooze out. Allowing the oil to settle down inside for some time helps in softening the wax and thus facilitating the wax to come out safely.
  • Using Olive Oil To Soften The Ear Wax: Olive oil can also be used to soften the ear wax. Few drops of olive oil are to be poured into the ear with the help of a dropper and allowed to settle down. This can be done during the bedtime and be repeated continuously for 3-4 days in case of the impacted ear wax condition.
  • Pouring Warm Water Into The Ear: You can also simply pour warm water into the ears and let it drain after some seconds. This can clear your ears to a decent extent.
  • With Vinegar And Rubbing Alcohol Solution: A mixed solution of vinegar and rubbing alcohol in equal proportion can help you treat the condition of impact ear wax or the Cerumen impaction in a safe manner. Few drops of the solution are to be put inside the ear and allowed to settle down. This helps in easy removal of ear wax.
  • Pouring Saline Solution Into The Ears: Saline water solutions are also used to treat cerumen impaction. This is perhaps one of the best ways for safe removal of ear wax at home. Mix a teaspoon of salt into and half cup of water. Then dip a clean cotton piece into the solution, squeeze the cotton to put some drops of the solution into the ear, keeping your head up. Allowing the saline solution settle down inside and then tilting your head in the opposite direction to remove the excess of solution will help you get rid of the accumulated ear wax greatly.
  • Putting Few Drops On Hydrogen Peroxide Into The Ears: 3% of hydrogen peroxide is to be mixed with water and the solution is to be used for treating Cerumen impaction or safe removal of ear wax. It must be noted to have a check that hydrogen peroxide is not going above 3% which might be harmful.

However a condition of cerumen impaction or impact ear wax that cannot be treated at home, requires a doctor’s visit and an expert treatment from the ENT specialist.

Some of The Preventive Measures To Be Followed While Treating Cerumen Impaction or Impacted Ear Wax At Home:

  • Make sure you are not inserting cotton swabs or the ear buds deep into the ear canal. They must only be used to remove the excess ear wax at the ear opening.
  • Avoid using any pointed object inside the ear which might push the ear wax deep into the eardrum.
  • Keep your ears moist by running water into your ears frequently which helps in preventing the ear wax getting dried up and accumulating inside the ear canal.
  • Avoid using candle wax remover which can be dangerous at times
  • Hot oil is not a home remedy for clearing ear wax. It can be dangerous as it might burn the sensitive skin of the ear. So avoid pouring hot oil for cleaning the wax from ear.
  • Do not use acidic liquid to soften the ear wax
  • Take foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and avoid taking excess of dairy products.
  • Consult with an expert ENT specialist in case of any serious symptoms.

Final Note to End:

Safety lies within. It is in fact as simple as ABCs. So be careful, maintain safety; especially when you are dealing with something real sensitive. Keep safe from the complications of Cerumen impaction. Go for the safest ways to remove the ear wax from the sensitive body part in better way. Because as they say, “Safety doesn’t happen by accident!” Take care of your ear. You need to listen the world!


  1. American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery – https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/ear-wax-cerumen/
  2. Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/earwax-blockage/symptoms-causes/syc-20353007
  3. WebMD – https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ear-infection/ear-wax-treatment-and-removal#1
  4. Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-remove-earwax-at-home#prevention-tips

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 4, 2023

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