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Practice Update

We relocated our office from Solana Beach to Carlsbad in October 2017.

Pacific ENT of San Diego County's Carlsbad * Treating Sinusitis * Sinus Surgery * Sleep *  Snoring * Sleep Apnea * Allergies * Ear Hearing & Balance * Voice * Head & Neck Surgical Care Allergist ENT Sinus Doctors of San Diego County California

Ear Wax

Earwax or cerumen is found in all of our ears. It is produced by special glands in the outer ear or external ear canal:

What is Earwax ?

The purpose of earwax is to moisturize and protect the ear canal. It traps dust and dirt particles that get into the ear canal. Normally, earwax usually dries up and falls out of the ear canal. The earwax may be pushed deeper into the ear canal if cotton-tipped applicators, hair pins or paper clips are used to clean the ear. This may result in blocking of the ear canal and hearing loss. Too little earwax may result in dry, itchy ears.

Normally, earwax does not require removal. If your ear becomes blocked, you may try to remove the wax by using hydrogen peroxide or over the counter drops such as Debrox, Murine or similar products. Mineral oil, baby oil or glycerin softens earwax and may help unblock your ears. If water is trapped in the ear canal, rubbing alcohol may be used. A word of caution, drops should not be placed in the ear canal if you have a hole in the eardrum, have had an injury to the ear or if you currently have an ear infection.

You should see a physician when:

  • Your ears remain blocked after using one of the home remedies listed above.
  • You have a hole in the eardrum
  • You have pain or swelling of the ear or other signs of active infection

When to see an otolaryngologist (ENT) specialist:

  • If the earwax cannot be removed by your regular physician
  • If you have a hole in the eardrum
  • If you have had mastoid surgery
  • If your hearing does not return to normal after the earwax is removed

Ear Candles/Coning

A word of caution. Ear candling/coning has become popular as a treatment for removing earwax and “ear toxins”. It is not only ineffective but potentially very dangerous.

Ear candles have been around for centuries. A hollow wax candle is placed in the ear canal and lit. The burning candle is supposed to draw out the wax with a vacuum effect of the candle. When the candle is removed, the residue inside the candle is said to be earwax and “toxins”. It is even said that the candles remove toxins from the brain and eustachian tubes. Individuals are easily deceived by what they see. In fact, the residue is nothing more than candle wax. Many studies have been done that demonstrate that there is no vacuum effect of the candle. Rather, vaporized candle wax is often deposited on the eardrum and ear canal skin. There is little that can be done to remove the wax other than to wait for the skin to naturally shed from the ear canal. As otolaryngologists, we have seen many instances where the wax drips into the ear canal and burns or perforates the eardrum. There are also reports that individuals have set their hair on fire. The FDA and Health Canada have determined that ear cones are dangerous to health when used in this manner and are often mislabeled as to their ability to remove ear was (www.accessdata.fda.gov) The bottom line is don’t waste your money or jeopardize your health.

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