The Itchy Ear

The differential diagnosis for an itchy ear includes allergic rhinitis, infection, rash, and cerumen impaction.  Histamine blockers work great for allergic rhinitis and various antibiotics/antifungals work for infections, but what do we do about cerumen impaction?

Having always been told to never put anything smaller than an elbow in the ear, how do we get that wax out?  Various ceruminolytic drops are on the market.  A few drops in each ear, followed by a few minutes to let them soak in, and then flushed out with a bulb syringe.  Other options include manual removal by a healthcare professional.  And then, of course, doing nothing is an option.

Refer to an ENT when the wax cannot be removed and the patient is symptomatic, with symptoms such as ear pain and vertigo.

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