The update provides a table of dos and don'ts for clinicians to further educate patients about cerumen impaction. Following are a few of those listed in the update:
- DON'T overclean your ears. Excessive cleaning may irritate the ear canal, cause infection, and even increase the changes of cerumen impaction.
- DON'T put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. Your mother was right! Cotton swabs, hair pins, care keys, toothpicks...these can all injure your ear and may cause a laceration (cut) in the ear canal, a perforation (hole) in the eardrum, and/or dislocation of the hearing bones, leading to hearing loss, dizziness, ringing, and other symptoms of ear injury.
- DON'T use ear candles. There is no evidence that they remove impacted cerumen, and candling can cause serious damage to the ear canal and eardrum.
- DO seek medical evaluation if you have symptoms of hearing loss, ear fullness, and ear pain if you are not certain that they are from cerumen.
- DO ask your provider about ways that you can treat your cerumen impaction at home. You may have certain medical or ear conditions that may make some options unsafe.
- DO seek medical attention with ear pain, drainage, or bleeding. These are not symptoms of cerumen impaction and need further evaluation.