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Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

It’s likely that earwax and its buildup haven’t been subjects of extensive contemplation for you, except perhaps during ear hygiene sessions. However, understanding what causes earwax, how it forms, and its purpose is essential.

So why does earwax accumulate?

Earwax, also technically called cerumen, is made up of a combination of sweat, skin particles, hair, debris, and ceruminous gland secretions. Earwax will appear as a waxy substance that will normally be yellow, orange, brown, or even grey.

In most situations, kids tend to produce more earwax than adults. Furthermore, adult earwax tends to be darker and harder compared to that of kids.

Earwax gets expelled or washed out after going by the outer ear canal and reaching the opening of the ear.

Why do we need earwax?

Earwax serves several essential functions, such as:

  • Preventing itchiness and dryness by moisturizing and protecting the lining of the ear canal.
  • Before things such as dust, dirt, or other outside debris get further up into the ear canal, earwax acts as a barrier.
  • Fending off possible infections that may occur within the ear canal.

Earwax obstructions

Usually, there’s no critical need to remove earwax from your ears unless it becomes impacted, a prevalent problem linked to earwax. Impacted earwax can stem from narrow or unusually shaped ear canals hindering the natural movement of earwax toward the ear’s periphery.

Poor ear hygiene methods, such as using cotton swabs or bobby pins, can unintentionally push wax deeper into the ear canal.

Earwax blockages are frequently experienced by people who frequently use earplugs, earbuds, or hearing aids.

How too much earwax can affect hearing

The presence of earwax blockages may yield slight discomfort and impact auditory health.
Ringing in the ears, or tinnitus, could also occur.

Untreated earwax blockages might intensify into middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or lasting hearing loss due to acoustic trauma.

How do you tackle impacted wax?

It’s essential that you contact us as soon as you can if you think your ears may be blocked by earwax. You may be advised to utilize over-the-counter products like a bulb syringe or earwax softening drops to clean the wax out, depending on the severity of the obstruction.

Give us a call right away if you need some assistance with an earwax blockage.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.