Is Your Ear Clogged?


Man trying to unclog ear waxEveryday people wake up or take a shower or manipulate their ears and suddenly they can’t hear.

As an Ear, Nose and Throat practitioner I “hear” about it every day from my patients. The answer is so simple in the vast majority of cases. In fact I think that most people realize the cause the moment they notice the hearing loss.

What is Ear Wax

Cerumen (ear wax) is usually the cause but mostly a failure to heed conventional wisdom is the culprit. It is quite basic. The ear is simply a bowl designed to gather sounds from each quadrant in front of us. The ear canal a pipe which helps to make sure certain sound frequencies resonate (amplify) and make it to vibrate our ear drums.

Obstruct your ear canal for any reason and the ambient sound is muted. Situated at the most outer part of our canal are glands that secrete oils. That oil along with skin we shed and maybe some hair all together forms what we all call earwax or doctors politely call cerumen. In most patients the natural biology of cerumen is to migrate out of the ear canal. Some people aren’t so fortunate to have cerumen that migrates but most do!

No Q-tips or fingers in ears

Q-tips (also known as cotton swabs) and fingers are simply plungers which compact and plow the cerumen deeper into the canal. There is nothing magical about cotton or your skin which will cause the cerumen to adhere and drain from the canal when you withdraw the finger or Q-tips. So there it is: Mess with the flow of cerumen out of your ear canal and you may find yourself temporarily clogged!

– Dr Michael Scherl