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Conditions

Earwax

Examination inside the ear

You might think that earwax is just useless icky stuff that you have to constantly remove from your ears. But it’s a natural secretion that actually performs a number of functions. Earwax cleans, lubricates, and protects the lining of your ear, by trapping dirt and repelling water. Without it, the skin inside your ear may become dry, cracked, infected, or waterlogged and sore. But this newfound respect for your earwax shouldn’t prevent you from conducting a little ear maintenance every now and then. The wax should naturally migrate towards the opening of the ear canal, so you shouldn’t have to go ramming a cotton bud deep inside (until you reach the brain). However, every year in the UK, an estimated 2.3 million people have problems with excessive earwax, which can sometimes cause the ear canal to become blocked, leading to pain, or temporary hearing loss. In these cases, the earwax will need to be removed by a GP or specialist.

If you are worried that your child has excessive earwax, check our condition guide for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids.

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Comments and Questions

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my mum is 68 she has had grommets inserted after 8 months and in those 8 months she is now suffering from severe anxiety and depression. yesterday we went back to private and paid for it the doctor said she has got glue ear again and the grommet is blocked so he has give us Sodium bicarbonate to try and clear it. Today she is feeling as her life is ending, we are stuck do not seem to be getting the help of doctors. Not sure what to do





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So I clean my ears regularly and I went swimming today. My ear started producing a lot of ear wax, I went to go clean it and now it's blocked, and I'm producing some liquid out of my ear now. What do I do?





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Help, I had this for about 3 or 4 weeks my ear always blocks with ear wax do u know what t is. I clean it once 7 and it goes away but 4 days later I its back I can't go to doctor because mum thinks it is stupid she dais clean your ear and keep health and get rid of your cold(I have got rid of it) Pleas help





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My boyfriend went diving in Mexico and returned with an ear infection which were treated with 2 courses of antibiotics. However he's recently gone to London. To work diving and it has returned he currently can't ear out of his right ear its swollen from the outside and in very red and hot. He almost fainted and can not open his jaw properly he says he's cold when he's hot can someone please help





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I have not been able to get wax out of my ears for over 15 yes now. When I was 4 yes old I had terrible earaches and my tonsils and atnoids were taken out. Didn't have another earache until the age 33!! My hearing is muffled a lot and my inner ear feels "fuzzyish/tickle" sometimes. Also like a stream of liquid is on its way out and nothing is ever there.?.?... Where is all of my ear wax?





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I got my ear syringed today but still can't hear properly how long is it till I can hear properly again there's still ringing in my ear





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Had the same myself today,just hopi get it will settle down soon anyone elose had this problem

That rinning usually stay so u can't really help it u have just got to put up with it (I ha it for a year now)

My daughter says her ear keeps bubbling what is this should I be worried





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Hi I can hear waves or little squeaks in a left ear it's really annoying and I can't sleep or concentrate properly





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My ear wax really smells. Its not nice at all. I've had this for years now, Whenever I go to the doctors I just get prescribed olive oil and I'm told to get them syringed but that is a temporary fix. I'm worried this may be a more serious issue.





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It Maybe a middle ear infection Steve...an antibiotics are required to treat this, not olive oil. i had sticky smelly wax at one point, actually oozing out of my ear, and it was badly infected... needing ear drops antibiotics and also ones you swallow too' to treat both sides... the ear drop i am using atm'' has ciprofloxcin 2 mg/ml hydrocortisone 10 mg/ml and the tablet i am using oraly isa combination of Amoxycillin 875mg/ clavulanic acid 125mg tablets. hope this helps... ( i have grommets by the way, so drops don't go straight into my ear drum as other peoples would. hope it helps.

My left ear keeps popping & has done for years. I have had it cleaned out by the nurse but the very next day it was happening again. It is very awkward at work as I am a receptionist who uses a headset. My ears popped before using the headset so it's not that. I also have tinitis in the same ear. Please help.





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HI'' you sound like you have blocked Eustachian Tubes..which i have suffered with myself for the last 30 yrs. It causes fluid retention in the ear drum, which makes a popping/ bubbling noise... Due to the retention, it can cause the ear drum' long term damage if care is looked into.(bone growth etc) I myself have had grommets as an adult for over 14 years, this equalizes pressure and the bubbling stops.... also hearing is better. Grommets are a small tube' inserted by a ear specialist allowing air into the ear drum area. Small ones last up to 2 years then fall out, larger ones which i have last 5 years. Unfortunately' they can fall out or be pushed with a cotton bud stick - so be careful! Also''ear plugs must be worn when in water, i find blue-tac the best ' as it is stick an allows me to still surf. hope this helps!


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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Earwax is made up of a number of different substances that form a protective coating over the skin that lines the ear canal (the passage between the outer and middle ear). Read More »

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