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HARDENED WAX OR IMPACTED CERUMEN





Category: Diseases of The Eye and Ear

This mass may be mixed with foreign
bodies or be made up of "wax" alone.

Symptoms. A large mass of wax may remain in the ear for many years
without causing any special loss of hearing so long as the plug does not
rest against the drum and there remains a passage between the mass so that
the sound-waves can strike the drum. Generally the hearing gradually grows
less. Loss of hearing may take place suddenly, as after washing the head,
or after a general bath, or after an attempt to clean the ear with the end
of a towel. Patients will often say the dullness of hearing appeared
suddenly. This no doubt was due to the fact that the mass of wax was
displaced against the drum suddenly by an unusual movement of the head or
the jaws, or the mass became swollen through fluids getting into the
canal. If the canal is filled there will be more or less deafness, ringing
in the ear, and there may be piercing pain produced by the hardened mass,
especially if the jaws are moved from side to side. If the mass is
thoroughly and carefully removed, the hearing may entirely return if it
was caused by this wax.

Treatment. The mass is best removed by syringing the hardened plug and
softening it gradually. Removing it with a currette and forceps without
softening it may do injury to the parts. The syringe and hot sterilized,
boiled water should be used for some time, and the patient asked
occasionally if there is any faintness or dizziness caused by it. It often
comes, in a lump after the water has been used for some time. A strong
solution of bicarbonate of sodium is also good to use.





Next: FOREIGN BODIES IN THE EAR

Previous: ECZEMA OF THE EXTERNAL EAR (Auricle)



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