Ear Blockage/Ear Wax

Causes and Symptoms

The sensation of ear blockage can be due to either foreign body material in the outer ear canal or due to either the presence of fluid in the middle ear or obstruction of the eustachian tube.

A build of wax is by far the commonest cause which can be made worse if the patient uses cotton buds to try and clear the ears.

In rare instances, a feeling of fullness can be described as a blockage sensation which occurs in Meniere’s disease, usually associated with dizziness.

Outer Ear Obstruction

There are many agents available on the market for the management of wax and probably the best one is Bicarbonate of Soda. Wax normally extrudes but excessive use of cotton buds or other implements push the wax further in inadvertently. In some people there is excess hair in the outer ear canal which prevents the natural egress of wax and debris. There are some conditions that can give rise to narrowing of the ear canal which can either be congenital or occur in later life. A common example is the development of excess bone in the ear canal due to cold water exposure during childhood. This is seen in patients who live in warmer climates and who have enjoyed cold water swimming or surfing in their youth.

It is recommended that five drops are instilled in each ear five times a day for a minimum of five days. This will really soften the wax and facilitate natural extrusion. If this fails to occur then syringing may be required or suction by an ENT Specialist with the aid of microscopic visualisation.

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    The commonest cause for this is the build up of wax.

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