- Cerumen is a naturally occurring substance that cleans, protects, and lubricates the external auditory canal.
- Diagnosed when an accumulation results in symptoms, such as hearing loss, or when it prevents adequate assessment of the ear canal or tympanic membrane.
- Intervention may include manual removal, irrigation, or use of cerumenolytic agents, or a combination of these modalities.
- After treatment, the clinician should re-examine the patient's ear and document the resolution of the cerumen impaction, and also inspect the previously occluded tympanic membrane.
- Young children, older patients, cognitively impaired people, and those in nursing homes are at high risk for cerumen impactions. Hearing-aid users are also at increased risk. These groups should be examined carefully for cerumen impaction during routine healthcare appointments.
Last updated: Aug 23, 2012