My ear is blocked/My ear hurts
These are common problems presented to Pharmacists. If you have pain, pressure, loss of hearing, discharge or feel that your ear is blocked your Pharmacist is a good person to speak with. A lot of the time these symptoms can be dealt with without seeing a Doctor. Infection and inflammation can occur in the ear canal and can cause these symptoms. Swimmers ear, infection and wax build up are the usual causes.
If you have ever had a burst ear drum then you should see your Doctor before using any treatment.
Often this can occur after swimming if water gets trapped in the ear. Trapped water can cause an infection. If it appears that trapped water is the culprit, for example if you have been swimming, drops to dry out the water will be recommended.
Germs can get in to the skin if there is a scratch in the ear canal and this can lead to an infection also. Antibiotics from the Doctor may be needed if this is the case.
If these do not appear to be the problem build-up of wax may be.
Some people are more prone to wax build-up than others. Cleaning the ear with cotton buds is a big no-no. This is because the cotton bud removes some of the wax but it also pushes wax further in to the ear canal. This pushed in wax is compacted and so the tiny hairs that normally help the ear to move wax out can’t work properly. Repeated use of cotton buds makes this problem worse. Wax removal ear drops help to soften and remove wax. Sometimes the wax comes out on its own and sometimes irrigation or syringing may be needed. This is best performed by your Doctor or nurse after examination by your Doctor. Softening with drops is needed prior to these procedures. The role of ear candles has not been proven.