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Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

Chances are, earwax and its buildup haven’t been subjects of extensive contemplation for you, except perhaps during ear hygiene routines. Nonetheless, comprehending what causes earwax, how it forms, and its purpose is crucial.

So why does earwax build-up?

Earwax, scientifically known as cerumen, is a dense blend of debris, hair, skin particles, sweat, and ceruminous gland secretions. Earwax will show up as a waxy substance that will usually be yellow, orange, brown, or even grey.

In most instances, children tend to generate more earwax than adults. Furthermore, adult earwax tends to be darker and denser compared to that of children.

Earwax passes the outer ear canal leisurely, eventually reaching the ear opening, where it either self-expels or gets washed out during bathing.

Why is earwax essential?

Here are a few essential functions that earwax serves:

  • Fending off possible infections that might arise within the ear canal.
  • Acting as a protective barricade against external irritants including dirt, dust, and other foreign particles before they penetrate deeper into the ear.
  • Safeguarding and lubricating the skin lining the ear canal, thus preventing dryness and itchiness.

Obstructions caused by earwax

Impacted earwax is a prevalent problem, but it’s typically the only time you need to worry about it. Impacted earwax can be the result of narrow or unusually shaped ear canals hindering the normal movement of earwax toward the ear’s opening.

Wax can be unintentionally pushed up into the ear canal by utilizing improper cleaning practices like using cotton swabs.

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

How is hearing affected by excessive earwax?

Auditory health may be impeded and you might feel mild discomfort.
In addition, considerable buildup of earwax can trigger tinnitus, a feeling of ringing in the ears.

Neglected earwax obstructions may intensify into middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or lasting hearing loss due to acoustic trauma.

How do you deal with impacted wax?

Should you think you have an earwax blockage, consulting us promptly is imperative. You might be advised to utilize over-the-counter products such as a bulb syringe or earwax softening drops to clear the wax out, depending on the extent of the blockage.

If you’re worried 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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