Cerumen Impaction Quiz

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Rohini R, MD (Ear, nose, throat (ENT))

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Learn more about Cerumen impaction

Content updated on Nov 2, 2022

What is cerumen impaction?

Also known as earwax impaction. It can caused by infections, genetics or ear deformities. In many cases, digging the ears with cotton buds may worsen, rather than improve the condition.

Symptoms of cerumen impaction

  • Hearing difficulty

  • Ringing sounds in the ear, i.e. Tinnitus, on one side only

  • Significant difference in hearing difficulty between my left and right ear

Questions your doctor may ask to check for cerumen impaction

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose cerumen impaction

  • Do you have hearing problems?

  • Do you have ringing in one ear only?

  • Do you feel that there is a large difference in your hearing between left and right ear?

Treatment for cerumen impaction

Avoid digging the ears with cotton buds, as this often pushes wax deeper. Olive oil drops can soften the wax, allowing the ear to naturally let wax out. Failing that, a doctor can perform simple procedures such as flushing or suctioning to remove the wax.

View the symptoms of Cerumen impaction

  • Hearing loss


  • Michaudet C, Malaty J. Cerumen Impaction: Diagnosis and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2018 Oct 15;98(8):525-529. PMID: 30277727.


  • Sevy JO, Singh A. Cerumen Impaction Removal. 2021 Dec 15. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 28846265.


  • McCarter DF, Courtney AU, Pollart SM. Cerumen impaction. Am Fam Physician. 2007 May 15;75(10):1523-8. PMID: 17555144.


  • Schwartz SR, Magit AE, Rosenfeld RM, Ballachanda BB, Hackell JM, Krouse HJ, Lawlor CM, Lin K, Parham K, Stutz DR, Walsh S, Woodson EA, Yanagisawa K, Cunningham ER Jr. Clinical Practice Guideline (Update): Earwax (Cerumen Impaction). Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 Jan;156(1_suppl):S1-S29. doi: 10.1177/0194599816671491. Erratum in: Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 Sep;157(3):539. PMID: 28045591.


  • Cerumen Impaction. Pediatrics. 2017 Feb;139(2):e20163912. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-3912. PMID: 28138008.


Reviewed By:

Rohini R

Rohini R, MD (Ear, nose, throat (ENT))

From our team of 50+ doctors

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Shohei Harase

Shohei Harase, MD


Kameda Medical Center, Japan

Yu Shirai

Yu Shirai, MD


Yotsuya Yui Clinic, Japan

Yoshinori Abe

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Internal medicine

Co-founder of Ubie, Inc.

Rohini R

Rohini R, MD

Ear, nose, throat (ENT)

Bayshore Health Centre, India

Seiji Kanazawa

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD

Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN)

National Center for Child Health and Development, Japan

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