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Cerumen Impaction


Cerumen impaction is the blockage of the outer ear canal by tightly packed cerumen (earwax). It is generally treated with procedures such as flushing or suctioning the ear canal or the use of instruments to remove the impaction.

Ear Anatomy



  • Ear drops: These are used to soften the wax in your ear. Wax softening ear drops may be bought without a prescription. Ask your healthcare provider how often you should use this medicine. Read the instructions carefully before you use the ear drops. Do the following when you put in ear drops:
    • Warm the drops by holding the bottle in your hands for a few minutes. Cold ear drops may make you dizzy.
    • Lie down with the affected ear toward the ceiling. You may also stand with your head tilted to one side.
    • Pull your ear lobe up and back, and place the correct number of drops into the ear.
    • Keep your ear facing up for 5 to 10 minutes so the drops coat the outer ear canal.
    • Gently clean the outer part of the ear with a cotton swab. Do not place the cotton swab or anything inside your ear canal. This increases the risk of damaging your eardrum.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have trouble hearing or ringing in your ear.
  • You have questions about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel dizzy.
  • You have discharge or blood coming out of your ear.
  • Your ear pain does not go away or gets worse.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Cerumen Impaction (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

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