Earwax Impaction Guidelines Updated — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 4, 2017

Earwax Impaction Guidelines Updated

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation has issued new guidelines for managing cerumen impaction in patients aged older than 6 months. The guidelines are published in Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery.

The group makes a strong recommendation that clinicians treat or refer patients with cerumen impaction.

The guidelines, an update from the group's 2008 guidance, also recommend the following:

  • Patients with cerumen accumulation should be counseled on proper ear hygiene.

  • Patients whose cerumen accumulation doesn't affect ear examination and who are asymptomatic do not require treatment.

  • Clinicians should advise against ear candling or coning.

  • Recommended treatments include cerumenolytic agents (e.g., water or saline solution), irrigation, or manual removal with instrumentation.

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