According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, the wax in our ears serves as a self-cleaning agent with protective, lubricating, and antibacterial properties. It traps the dirt and dust particles and prevents them from reaching the eardrum. Without cerumen, our ears would be dry and itchy.
Doctors, specifically the otolaryngologists, advise us to avoid cleaning our ears; the ear canals are capable of doing that on their own. Aided by chewing and jaw movement, old earwax constantly moves from the ear canal to the ear opening where it usually dries, flakes, and falls out. We may then use a cloth to wash the external ear.
Using items such as cotton-tipped applicators or bobby pins are not recommended. These things will only push the wax deeper into the ear canal and lead to cerumen impaction.
However, the self-cleaning mechanism of the ear canal may fail sometimes and also cause the cerumen to accumulate.
To treat cerumen impaction, the doctor may perform any of the three options: irrigation, manual extraction, and topical preparations. They may also combine any of these methods.
In the video below, Dr. Paul manually extracted the boy’s impacted cerumen first before they flushed the huge chunk of earwax from his ear.
It may be gross, but still, you won’t be able to look away.
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