Wax in the external ear canal is a natural process and a certain amount of wax is normal. Sometimes, however, the wax can build up due to multiple factors including a narrow ear canal, excessively dry or oily wax, or Q-tip use. Q-tip in the ear canal is the number one cause of wax impaction. Wax can be safely removed by people who do not have a tympanic membrane perforation or tympanostomy tubes, by using a bulb syringe and warm water to irrigate the ear. Ear wash kits are also available at most pharmacies.
Sometimes, despite the best efforts of our patients, they are unable to remove the wax at home and this can be performed in an office setting. Depending upon the wax and the shape and size of the ear canal, wax can be removed using various techniques including direct removal with a loop, the use of other instrumentation, or irrigation.
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