Ear, Nose, and Throat

Impacted Cerumen

Cerumen can become impacted and get stuck in the ear canal. Impacted cerumen can be painful and cause a variety of problems such as a loss of hearing, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), itching in the ear, dizziness, and it can even cause discharge and odors to come from the ear.


One of the most common causes of impacted cerumen is attempting to clean the ears using q-tips or any other objects that get put into the ear. Inserting foreign objects into the ear canal only pushes the cerumen further into the ear, and also poses the risk of damaging or puncturing the ear canal. Although cerumen impaction can occur with anyone, it is more commonly seen in patients who; wear hearing aids or use ear plugs often, put q-tips or other foreign objects in their ears, are elderly, have developmental disabilities, or those who have oddly shaped ear canals.


Cerumen Removal

As a natural mechanism for protecting the ears the body produces a substance called cerumen (earwax). The body has its own natural process for exposing of old cerumen and cleaning out the ears. Old/excess cerumen is (usually) removed from the ear naturally during the process of chewing and other movements of the jaw. Cerumen removal (the removal of excess ear wax) is one of the most commonly performed ear, nose, and throat (ENT) procedures. Cerumen can be removed with the use of an irrigation technique or manually with the use of a curette, forceps, or suction.


What is an ear curette?

An ear curette (also known as an ear pick) is a long, thin, and narrow medical instrument with a loop on the end that is used by medical professionals for the safe and effective removal of impacted cerumen (ear wax). If left untreated, cerumen impaction can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, as well as pain, dizziness, and even a bad odor coming from the ear.


What are lighted forceps?

Lighted forceps can be defined as two-bladed instruments with a handle, brilliant white light, and magnification that are meant to be used for grasping, manipulating, or extracting objects; usually used during medical procedures and surgeries.

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