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Cerumen Impaction Pocket Guideline

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12 Patient Information Frequently Asked Questions 1. Is it necessary to treat your ears to prevent accumulation of earwax? • Prevention is best for certain groups of people, yet not everyone needs it. Among these who may be helped are the elderly, people with hearing aids, and those with a history of excessive earwax. Discussion with your doctor will help determine whether anything should be done for you. 2. What will happen if I just leave my ears alone and do not clean them? • Most people do not need a regular schedule for prevention of earwax accumulation. Some may find it necessary to have a cleaning procedure performed occasionally. Earwax is formed naturally by your body and helps protect your ear canal skin and kill germs. A doctor may find an excess of earwax at a regularly scheduled general check-up and perform a cleaning procedure. 3. What symptoms could be caused by excessive earwax? • Common complaints include itching, hearing problems, or a sense of fullness in the ear canal. Other problems that might occur include discharge, odor, cough, or ear pain. 4. Does it hurt to remove earwax? • The procedures used to remove earwax should not cause any pain. If you are putting a type of liquid into the ear, it may feel funny, but should not hurt. 5. If earwax is removed, will my hearing get better? • The type of treatment used to prevent the buildup of wax in your ear should usually not affect your hearing. If your ear canal is completely or almost completely blocked by excess earwax, then removing the wax will allow your hearing to return to pre-impaction levels. 6. How often should I remove wax from my ears? • There is no standard procedure for preventing earwax buildup, and for most people nothing needs to be done unless excess wax develops. Ask your health care provider if there is anything special you should do to prevent or reduce accumulation of earwax. There are several procedures with different time periods for the treatment. 7. Is removing earwax expensive? • Most procedures use over-the-counter materials and are not expensive. Your health care provider can help with the choices. 8. Do cotton-tipped swabs remove wax from the ear? • Cotton-tipped swabs can remove some wax, but they often simply push the wax deeper into the ear and may worsen an impaction or traumatize the ear canal. 9. Whom can I see to clean my ears? • Many primary care clinicians have the ability to irrigate cerumen in their clinics. Alternatively an otolaryngologist can remove obstructed cerumen.

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