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Ear Wax Softener Can Affect Hearing, Study Reports
Date:2/1/2008

ng the wax softener if the status of a person's eardrum is not known.

Randy Steffan, a spokesman for Purdue Pharma in Canada, said that the company is aware of the study and plans to follow up with the Montreal Children's Hospital researchers to review the full results.

Meanwhile, he said, "the package insert clearly specifies not to use Cerumenex if there is perforated eardrum, middle ear infection, atopic dermatitis or inflammation of the external ear or a previous skin reaction." Cerumenex has been available in Canada since 1958, he added.

Instead of using a wax softener, those with a wax problem who do not have a perforated drum may be advised by their doctor to flush the ears with warm water using an ear bulb. They could then use an eye dropper to apply a few drops of a solution of 50-50 alcohol and white vinegar, said Dr. Chester Griffiths, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, Santa Monica, CA.

However, people with a hole in their eardrum should not do that, he added. If someone has a perforated drum, he needs to see an ear doctor if there is excess wax or other problem, Griffiths said.

For others, routinely taking care of the wax problem is advisable, he said.

"The problem with wax is, when people feel it, it's too late. And they use wax softener and it can make it worse," Griffiths added.

More information

There's more on ear wax at the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery.



SOURCES: Chester Griffiths, M.D., ear nose throat specialist, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, Santa Monica, Calif.; Randy Steffan and James Heins, spokesmen, Purdue Pharma Canada and Purdue Pharma LP; Dec. 3, 2008, The Laryngoscope, online


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