What is the wax removal shower

Earwax plug

Earwax plug(Cerumen obturans, ceruminal plug): Partial or complete occlusion of the external auditory canal with wax, associated with hearing loss.

Causes are excessive ear wax production, a disrupted self-cleaning mechanism of the external ear canal or improper cleaning with cotton swabs, in which the ear wax was pushed deep into the ear canal.

Leading complaints

  • Increasing or sudden hearing loss
  • Feeling of pressure in the ear
  • Possibly ringing in the ears and dizziness.

When to the doctor

In the next few days if

  • hearing is decreased or you feel pressure.

The illness

Disease emergence

If the self-cleaning mechanism of the ear is disturbed - usually due to improper cleaning with cotton swabs - larger accumulations of ear wax form. They mix with flakes of skin and dirt that has entered the ear from the outside. Over time, it becomes a plug that completely or partially closes the external auditory canal and causes hearing loss and a feeling of pressure in the ear.

The plug often swells up when it comes into contact with water, so that the person affected perceives the hearing loss as a sudden event shortly after showering or swimming.

Risk factors

Narrow ear canals and the individually different composition of the ear wax favor the formation of a plug. Inserting and wearing hearing aids also promotes the development of earwax plugs by pushing the cerumen into the ear canal.


Complications such as ear canal inflammation are rare.

Diagnostic assurance

Using an otoscope, an ear speculum with a lamp and a magnifying glass, the doctor thoroughly examines the external auditory canal. In doing so, he pays attention to possible other causes of occlusion such as foreign bodies, tumors or flakes of skin.


The doctor removes the plug with a suction device, special hooks or even with a Ear irrigation. To do this, the patient sits down comfortably, his clothing is protected by a waterproof cover sheet. The doctor then uses an ear syringe that is as blunt as possible to rinse body-warm water into the ear canal with little pressure. The water and the loosened ear wax run off into a kidney dish, which the patient or an assistant holds under the ear concerned. If necessary, the ear irrigation is repeated several times. The doctor will soften a very hard earwax plug with ear drops with hydrogen peroxide or glycerine before the ear irrigation. Finally, he checks the success of the treatment by examining the ear canal again.


With appropriate medical treatment, the earwax plug is a harmless disease. Recurring earwax problems are rare and are caused by narrow ear canals and an earwax composition that promotes grafting.

Your pharmacy recommends

What you can do yourself

Go to the doctor.

Self-treatment with preparations for softening and rinsing out earwax plugs such as ear candles, sprays or oils is not advisable. On the one hand, these can injure the ear canal and eardrum, on the other hand, any serious causes of the complaints are not recognizable to the layman.


Ear cleaning.

The most important measure to avoid an earwax plug is professional ear cleaning. Above all: be careful with cotton swabs! A normal handkerchief is sufficient to clean the auricle of wax.

If you wear a hearing aid, have your ears checked for wax plugs and your ears cleaned regularly.

Anyone who frequently suffers from earwax plugs should have their ear canals regularly inspected and cleaned by an ENT doctor.


Prof. Dr. med. Gerhard Grevers; Dr. Ute Koch; Thilo Machotta; Dr. med. Arne Schäffler in: Gesundheit heute, edited by Dr. med. Arne Schäffler. Trias, Stuttgart, 3rd edition (2014). Revision and update of the sections "The disease", "Confirmation of diagnosis" and "Your pharmacy recommends": Dr. med. Sonja Kempinski | last changed on at 14:16

Important note: This article has been written according to scientific standards and has been checked by medical professionals. The information communicated in this article can in no way replace professional advice in your pharmacy. The content cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start therapy.