Cerumen (wax) impaction occurs when the external ear canal becomes blocked by an excessive amount of normally occurring wax. Cerumen is made by tiny glands in the outer aspect of the ear canal. Wax is very beneficial and its purpose includes protecting the outer ear from moisture and other things which might enter the canal. In most people, the ear is self cleaning and the wax will come out periodically on its own. In others, cerumen may accumulate faster than it extrudes itself, leading to blockage and hearing loss or a feeling of fullness or pressure. The most common cause of cerumen impaction is placing some object in the ear to try to remove the wax (Q-tip, bobby pin, or the top of a pen). In addition, water may sometimes get around the impacted cerumen and the warm and dark environment may lead to a bacterial of fungal infection. The Physicians at Capitol Ear, Nose, & Throat recommend that the first time you experience cerumen impaction, you should be evaluated by a physician to make sure there is ...

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