Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

You most likely don’t give much thought to earwax buildup unless you’re in the process of cleaning it out. Nonetheless, comprehending what causes earwax, how it forms, and its purpose is essential.

So why does earwax build-up?

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

In most situations, children tend to generate more earwax than adults. Furthermore, adult earwax is usually darker and harder compared to that of children.

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 essential functions, such as:

  • Safeguarding and lubricating the skin lining the ear canal, thereby preventing dryness and itchiness.
  • Before things like dust, dirt, or other external debris get further up into the ear canal, earwax acts as a roadblock.
  • Helping prevent ear infections.

Obstructions caused by earwax

Usually, there’s no imperative need to remove earwax from your ears unless it becomes impacted, a prevalent problem linked to earwax. Impacted earwax can be the result of narrow or abnormally shaped ear canals impeding the natural movement of earwax toward the ear’s periphery.

Poor ear hygiene practices, like using cotton swabs or bobby pins, can inadvertently force wax deeper into the ear canal.

Individuals grappling with hearing loss who utilize earplugs or hearing aids are also predisposed to experiencing ear canal blockages.

How is hearing impacted by excessive earwax?

The presence of earwax blockages may yield slight discomfort and dampen auditory health.
Additionally, significant accumulations of earwax can trigger tinnitus, a sensation of ringing in the ears.

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

Dealing with impacted earwax

It’s essential that you get in touch with us as soon as possible if you think your ears may be blocked by earwax. You might be advised to use over-the-counter products like a bulb syringe or earwax softening drops to clean the wax out, depending on the severity of the blockage.

If you’re concerned about your earwax buildup, call us today 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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