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Suggest treatment for persistent wax formation in the ear

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Posted on Thu, 29 Oct 2015
Question: Hi. My name is XXXX. I must have wax in my left ear. I tried to remove it with a plastic ear cleaner, but that hasn't helped too much. Then I tried using the removal aid liquid, but that hasn't helped much either. My left ear seems to hurt. How can I solve the problem so I won't have to make an appointment? I have seen commercials for removing ear wax with drills. Could I use those? If so, where could I but those?
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Use Debrox (carbamide peroxide) drops to soften, then rinse.

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX

Sorry you are having this problem. I'd recommend not trying to dig (or drill) the wax out as it can irritate the ear canal and sometimes make the wax lodge in further.

Better way is to soften the wax using carbamide drops (Such as Debrox) and then wash the ear with warm water. You can repeat this several times for up to 3 days, providing the ear isn't getting irritated.

There are over the counter (non-prescription) ear wax treatment kits that include both the wax softening drops and a bulb syringe that you can use for irrigating with warm water.

If your left ear hurts from the digging, then consider skipping the Debrox and drip in some unscented pure mineral oil to soften the wax, and go to the doctor for irrigation. I know you want to avoid an appointment, but I want to make sure the pain isn't from an infection in the ear canal.

If you think the discomfort is from impacted wax and not irritation/infection of the canal lining, and it isn't hurting too much, then go ahead with the Debrox. If no luck with resolution after 3 days, then do go in to the doctor or urgent care clinic.

One way to tell ear canal irritation/infection from ear wax problem is that an infection of the canal will hurt A LOT. Ear wax on the other hand just feels sort of stuffy.

I hope this information helps. If I can provide further information or clarification, please let me know.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (20 hours later)
Does the Debrox come with a bulb syringe? If so, do you know what it looks like? I don't have the Debrox, but will get it. If I do, should I get a bulb syringe with it? If not, what else should I get with the Debrox to use for digging?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (7 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Some Debrox Earwax Removal Kit has a bulb syringe.

Detailed Answer:
Debrox comes in different forms but if you get the "Debrox Earwax Removal Kit", it has a bulb syringe. There is a picture of the drops and the bulb syringe on the box.

But please - NO MORE DIGGING! It is not recommended, and can harm your ear canal which can become infected. It can also push the wax in further. If you need manual extraction of the wax, it is best for a doctor to do this who can have a look in your ear with an otoscope to see what is going on.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (41 minutes later)
I shouldn't use the bulb syringe at all, right? If I'm wrong, what should I use the syringe for?
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (5 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
The bulb syringe is safe.

Detailed Answer:
It is ok to put the bulb syringe gently in your ear and irrigate with warm water after using the Debrox and waiting for the specified time.

But don't use anything else in it. What I am recommending is not digging in it. The Debrox and water will help wash out the wax gently.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (3 days later)
Yesterday, and today I put drops of Debrox in my left ear, then I irrigated with warm water afterwards. Should I keep doing that, or just use Debrox for a few days, then irrigation with warm water? I called a number for Debrox just today, who told me to just irrigate with warm water after 4 days if there's still earwax.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh (5 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Debrox can be used either way.

Detailed Answer:
You can use Debrox either way:

If you don't think the wax is excessively hard or built up, you can just use the Debrox and immediately afterwards, irrigate with warm water.

OR...

If earwax build up is a significant problem, use the Debrox - about 10 drops, twice a day for 3-4 days without irrigating; and then on the 4th day irrigate the ear. Using the Debrox for 3-4 days without irrigating will allow the wax to soften maximally. This should take care of your problem. But if for some reason you are still having problems after 4 days, then do go in and get your ear checked as there may be a problem other than ear wax.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3138 Questions

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Suggest treatment for persistent wax formation in the ear

Brief Answer: Use Debrox (carbamide peroxide) drops to soften, then rinse. Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXXXX Sorry you are having this problem. I'd recommend not trying to dig (or drill) the wax out as it can irritate the ear canal and sometimes make the wax lodge in further. Better way is to soften the wax using carbamide drops (Such as Debrox) and then wash the ear with warm water. You can repeat this several times for up to 3 days, providing the ear isn't getting irritated. There are over the counter (non-prescription) ear wax treatment kits that include both the wax softening drops and a bulb syringe that you can use for irrigating with warm water. If your left ear hurts from the digging, then consider skipping the Debrox and drip in some unscented pure mineral oil to soften the wax, and go to the doctor for irrigation. I know you want to avoid an appointment, but I want to make sure the pain isn't from an infection in the ear canal. If you think the discomfort is from impacted wax and not irritation/infection of the canal lining, and it isn't hurting too much, then go ahead with the Debrox. If no luck with resolution after 3 days, then do go in to the doctor or urgent care clinic. One way to tell ear canal irritation/infection from ear wax problem is that an infection of the canal will hurt A LOT. Ear wax on the other hand just feels sort of stuffy. I hope this information helps. If I can provide further information or clarification, please let me know.