Close up image of ear with earwax buildup.

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

What initiates the accumulation of earwax?

Earwax, scientifically known as 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, kids tend to generate more earwax than adults. Kids also usually have softer earwax that’s lighter in color than adults.

Earwax gets discharged 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:

  • Helping counter ear infections.
  • Before things like dust, dirt, or other outside debris go further up into the ear canal, earwax acts as a roadblock.
  • Stopping itchiness and dryness by lubricating and safeguarding the lining of the ear canal.

Blockages caused by earwax

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

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

Earwax obstructions are frequently experienced by individuals who often use earplugs, earbuds, or hearing aids.

How too much earwax can affect hearing

Auditory health may be hindered and you might feel slight discomfort.
Additionally, substantial buildup of earwax can induce tinnitus, a sensation of ringing in the ears.

Neglected earwax blockages may escalate into middle ear infections, perforated eardrums, or enduring hearing loss due to acoustic trauma.

How do you tackle impacted wax?

Should you suspect an earwax blockage, consulting us immediately is imperative. 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.

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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