Earwax build-up is one of the most common conditions I see on a daily basis. This article from the Wall Street Journal gives an excellent overview of the “Good, Bad…. ( I would add) …the Pain and Hearing loss “ which can result from self–care wax cleaning techniques. I typically clean ears using my microscope for visualization along with a curette and suction. I see many patients for ear wax buildup due to the use of Q-tips. Mom’s advice of never putting anything smaller than your elbow is well heeded when it comes to cleaning ones ears themselves. Q-tips should not be used in the ear canal- it’s very easy to turn a nuisance of ear wax or ear itching into a blocked painful ear with decreased hearing. Some people just produce a lot of wax and need to come in for periodic cleaning. When patients comes to see me for hearing loss and the problem is earwax, it is very gratifying and a temporary source of hearing loss which resolves with a simple cleaning.
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