Cork in the ear: causes, symptoms, methods of removal, washing and prevention, photo

A sulfur plug is the formation in the outer ear from earwax. This secret produces special sulfur glands located in the external auditory canal. Sulfur can protect the hearing organ from damage, drying, dust, pathogenic microorganisms, fungi and insects.

Normally an excess of sulfur is released outward along with keratinized epithelium and dirt during a conversation, act of chewing, yawning.

However, sometimes the secret of the sulfuric glands is rammed and clogged deep in the ear to the eardrum. This formation is called a sulfur plug, it leads to a violation of the protective mechanisms.

Main symptoms of

The patient may not suspect for a long time that a sulfur plug appears. Only when overlapping her ear canal you can see the first unpleasant symptoms. They can arise from one or both sides, depending on the location of the cork.

Common signs of congestion:

  • Feeling of congestion, hearing loss, ear noise. These signs develop quite slowly, the patient does not immediately pay attention to them.
  • Appearance of dry cough, dizziness, mild pain and echoes of your voice in the sore ear. This symptom complex develops due to the constant pressure of the plug from sulfur to the tympanic membrane, which leads to irritation of the nerve endings.
  • Pain in the ear, which is strengthened by the movement of the jaw, a slight increase in temperature, a purulent discharge from the external ear. These symptoms indicate a prolonged finding of sulfur plug, associated with inflammation of the middle ear or the development of myringitis( inflammatory processes in the tympanic membrane).
  • Paralysis of the facial nerve, epilepsy, tachycardia or bradycardia. Such symptoms develop in especially severe cases, when the cork is in the bone and exerts an excessive pressure on the tympanic membrane.

Causes of

In clinical otolaryngology, a number of factors are distinguished that can provoke the formation of a sulfuric plug:

  • Increase of secretory activity of sulfuric glands. This leads to the formation of excess sulfur, which is not able to evacuate from the auditory canal and gradually accumulates in it. This condition is observed with dermatitis, chronic otitis, increased cholesterol, eczema.
  • Violation of the evacuation of sulfur. This condition is associated with anatomical features of the auditory canal, narrowing of the passage due to the inflammatory process, its obstruction by a foreign body, increased hair growth or frequent use of headphones.
  • Wrong operating conditions. Persons who work with increased dust content of air, are more likely to encounter the appearance of sulfur plugs. Here it is possible to carry miners, millers, employees of tobacco shops.
  • Excessive moistening of the ear canal. Frequent immersion under water results in the swelling of even a small amount of sulfur and the formation of a sulfur plug.
  • Improper hygiene. During an improper cleaning of the ears, the sulfur can pass from the membranous cartilage, where its secretion occurs, through the isthmus to the bone. As a result, its reverse movement is almost impossible.

The photo clearly shows how the sulfur plug

is formed. Medication

Modern pharmacology offers the use of special ear drops for independent safe and painless evacuation of sulfur plug and its prevention. Also, drugs are used as a preparatory stage before removal of the cork by an otolaryngologist.


The mechanism of the action of ear drops is based on the gradual dissolution of the sulfur plug in the ear canal and its subsequent removal.

This technique was called cerumenolysis. This process does not cause swelling of the plug, so it does not cause unpleasant sensations in the patient.

Cerumenolysis is widely used by A-Cerumen and Remo-Wax. The drops are heated to body temperature, and buried in the supine position on the side in the outer ear on the back or top wall to prevent the formation of an airlock.

The solution is left for a while according to the instructions, then turn to the opposite side to allow the contents of the passage to flow out. The procedure is repeated daily for 3 days.

Alternative methods

As a part of drug therapy, ear candles are also used. The procedure consists in placing a special long hollow candle wrapped in a napkin in the ear canal, followed by its ignition.

During combustion, the ear contents are gradually drawn into the candle.

To dissolve the plug, 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, heated to body temperature, is widely used.10-15 drops should be dripped into the diseased ear. The solution, upon contact with the tissues, decomposes into molecular oxygen and water.

The released oxygen leads to the oxidation of the sulfur plug to the formation of foam, which facilitates the mechanical cleaning of the passage. After 15 minutes you need to turn over on the opposite side, so that the solution and the remnants of the cork have emerged. The procedure is repeated up to 6 times a day for 4 days.

It should be remembered that the use of hydrogen peroxide will lead to the swelling of the plug, so the patient may note a worsening of the symptoms. However, after the removal of excess sulfur, the symptomatology completely disappears. Hydrogen peroxide should be used cautiously - it can cause burns. If there is burning during the procedure, you should consult a doctor.

Use of folk remedies

In folk medicine, the following techniques are widely used at home for the removal of cork at home:

  • Washing of the ear with an oil-and-milk mixture. A little milk is heated to 40-450 C. Drop a few drops of hemp oil into it and dip into the ear with a pipette. The procedure should be repeated twice a day for up to 4 days.
  • Almond washing is a method often used to remove sulfur plugs in a child. Heat the oil to 400 C, drip 10 drops into the diseased ear and put the turunda. The procedure should be repeated every evening until the symptoms disappear. Leave the oil in the diseased ear until morning.
  • Rinsing with a bow. Squeeze the onion juice, drip 2 drops in the ear. You can also use a mixture of onion and vodka juice in a ratio of 4: 1.
  • Use of alkaline solutions. In warm water, dissolve 1 tablespoon of soda and 3 drops of glycerin. The resulting solution is digested 4 times a day for 5-6 drops.
  • Ash juice. Collect fresh ash leaves and squeeze out the juice from them. To remove the cork, it is enough to dig in a few drops twice a day in a sore ear.

See video how to remove the sulfur plug in the ear:

Prevention of sulfur plugs

The main reason for the development of the plug is incorrect hygiene. And as a preventive measure, it is necessary to familiarize the patient with the basics of cleansing the external ear. Remove sulfur from children and adults only from the ear canal.

Avoid sudden temperature changes. This can lead to hypersecretion of sulfur. To prevent water from entering during water procedures, a special rubber cap must be worn.

While working in a dusty or dirty room in the ears, it is better to insert headphones or turundas. With an anatomical inclination to accumulate sulfur, the otolaryngologist must be cleaned regularly.

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