Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

Chances are, earwax and its buildup haven’t been subjects of extensive consideration for you, except maybe during ear hygiene sessions. Still, it’s crucial to have an understanding of its purpose and how it develops.

What causes the accumulation of earwax?

Earwax, also scientifically called cerumen, is made up of a combination of sweat, skin particles, hair, debris, and ceruminous gland secretions. This earwax presents with a waxy texture and can show shades of orange, yellow, gray, or brown.

While the production amount of earwax differs from individual to individual, adults usually produce less earwax than children. Furthermore, adult earwax is usually darker and harder compared to that of kids.

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

Why do we need earwax?

Earwax serves several critical functions, such as:

  • Fending off potential infections that may occur within the ear canal.
  • Acting as a protective barrier against outside irritants such as dirt, dust, and other foreign particles before they infiltrate deeper into the ear.
  • Stopping itchiness and dryness by lubricating and safeguarding the lining of the ear canal.

Blockages caused by earwax

Typically, there’s no crucial need to remove earwax from your ears unless it becomes impacted, a prevalent problem linked to earwax. In some cases, earwax is unable to easily get to the opening of the ear as a result of narrow or unusually shaped ear canals.

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

Individuals wrestling with hearing loss who make use of earplugs or hearing aids are also susceptible to experiencing ear canal obstructions.

How too much earwax can affect hearing

Auditory health may be hindered and you may feel mild discomfort.
Additionally, significant accumulations of earwax can induce tinnitus, a feeling of ringing in the ears.

Acoustic trauma may lead to long-term hearing impairment, perforated eardrums, and long-term hearing loss if earwax obstructions go neglected.

Addressing impacted earwax

It’s crucial that you get in touch with us as soon as you can if you think your ears may be blocked by earwax. Depending on the severity of the blockage, you may be advised to use over-the-counter wax softening drops or a bulb syringe for gentle irrigation to alleviate the condition.

If you’re worried about your earwax buildup, call us right away to schedule an appointment.

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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.
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